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FROM 1795 TO 1872 








1845 TO 1857, BRITISH KAFFRARIA FROM 1847 TO 1860, 






.Firstf Edition . . 

. . July 1904 

Second ,, . . 

. . December 1908 

Tfewtf ,, 

. . April 1916 

[All rights reserved.] 




Rescue of a prisoner and murder of a British subject by Kaffirs 
within the colonial border. — Refusal of the chiefs Tola, 
Botumane, and Sandile to surrender the criminals. — Resolu- 
tion of the lieutenant-governor to occupy Sandile' s kraal. — 
Disastrous result of the expedition against Sandile. — Destruc- 
tive raid by the Xosas into the colony. — Enumeration of 
hostile and friendly clans. — Untoward event at Fort Peddie. — 
Assumption by Sir Peregrine Maitland of the command of 
the forces in the field. — Appointment of Sir Andries 
Stockenstrom as commandant-general of some of the burgher 
forces. — -Operations of the board of relief. — Loss of a waggon 
train at Trompetter's drift. — Unsuccessful attempt of the 
Kaffirs to get possession of Fort Peddie. — Heavy^ loss inflicted 
upon the Kaffirs at the Gwanga. — Union of all classes of 
colonists. — Strength of the forces raised to repel the enemy. — 
Opening of Waterloo Bay for landing purposes. — Expedition 
against Pato. — Unsuccessful movements in the Amatola fast- 

UvdBcS ••■ ••• mi ••• ••• ■*« ••• ••• ••• *■ 


THE SEVENTH KAFFIR WAR — (continued). 

Fruitless expedition against Kreli. — Successful attack upon Mapasa. 
— Resignation of the commandant- general. — Enforced inaction 
of the troops. — Arrival of more soldiers from England. — 
Unsuccessful negotiations for peace. — Application from the 
Tembu chief Umtirara to be received as a British subject. — 
Operations against the clans near the coast. — Tactics adopted 

iv Contents. 

by the Kaffirs. — Sickness among the troops. — Insubordination 
of the Hottentot levies. — Appointment of the reverend Henry 
Calderwood as special commissioner. — Apparent settlement of 
some of the clans. — Expedition against Kreli and Pato. — 
Recall of Sir Peregrine Maitland. — Arrival of Sir Henry 
Pottinger as governor and high commissioner 22 




THE SEVENTH KAFFIR WAR — (continued). 

Particulars concerning Sir Henry Pottinger. — Condition of the 
frontier at the time of his arrival. — Formation of a Kaffir 
police force. — Unsuccessful operations against Pato. — Detention 
of troops returning from India to England. — Construction of a 
line of forts along the Buffalo river. — Opening of the mouth 
of the Buffalo as a port for shipping. — Different views of Sir 
Peregrine Maitland and Sir Henry Pottinger. — Resumption of 
hostilities with Sandile and Anta. — Plan of operations against 
Sandile. — Surrender of Sandile and Anta. — Operations against 
Pato. — Murder of five officers near the Komgha. — Surrender 
of Pato. — Removal of Sir Henry Pottinger to Madras. — 
Arrival of Sir Harry Smith as governor and high commis- 
sioner. — Extension of the colonial boundary. — Proclamation of 
the queen's sovereignty over British Kaffraria. — Arrangements 
for the government of British Kaffraria. — Great meeting at 
King-Williamstown. — Conclusion of peace with Kreli and 
Buku. — Settlement of those Kaffirs who had been friendly 
during the war ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 41 


SIR HENRY G. W. SMITH, GOVERNOR — (continued). 

Losses caused by the war. — Apparent submission of the Rarabe 
clans. — Census of British Kaffraria. — Annexation of East 
London to the Cape Colony. — Formation of the division 
of Victoria East. — Distribution of the military force in South 

Contents. v 

Africa. — Return of troops to England. — Formation of the 
military villages of Juanasburg, Woburn, Auckland, and Ely. 
— Attempt to form a Hottentot settlement on the Beka. 
— Resumption of their ordinary occupations by the frontier 
farmers. — Formation of the division of Albert. — Foundation 
of the village of Aliwal North. — Creation of many new 
magisterial districts and fiscal divisions. — Arrival of the first 
bishop of the Anglican church. — Foundation of the diocesan 
college and the Zonnebloem institution. — Rapid increase in the 
number of Anglican congregations. — Extension of the Roman 
catholic church. — Successful resistance by the colonists to the 
introduction of British convicts. — Description of Little 
Namaqualand. — Commencement of copper mining in Little 
Namaqualand. — Wild speculation in connection with copper 
mining.-— Great success of two companies. — Trifling effect 
of the development of copper mining upon the people 
of South Africa.-— Improvements in Capetown •• 65 


sir henry g. w. smith — (continued). 



Condition of British Kaffraria in 1848 and 1849. — Great influence of 
Umlanjeni. — Conduct of Sandile. — Action of the governor. — 
Attempt to arrest Sandile. — Disaster at the Boomah pass. — 
Murder of soldiers at Debe Nek. — Massacre of the military 
settlers in the Tyumie valley and destruction of their villages. 
— Abandonment of the mission station Gwali. — Siege of Fort 
Cox. — Unsuccessful attempt to release the governor. — Escape 
of Sir Harry Smith from Fort Cox. — Desertion of the Kaffir 
police. — Destructive raid into the colony. — Position of the 
Rarabe clans, of the Galekas, and the Tembus. — Rebellion of 
many Hottentots. — Abandonment of the mission station 
Shiloh. — Defeat and death of the rebel Hermanus at Fort 
Beaufort. — Election of Willem Uithaalder as their leader by 
the rebel Hottentots. — Recovery of Fort Armstrong. — Second 
raid into the colony. — Invasion of Kreli's country. — Loss of 
the Birkenhead. — Recall of Sir Harry Smith. — Arrival of the 

vi Contents. 

honourable George Cathcart as governor. — Condition of the 
enemy at this time. — Arrival of military reinforcements. — Plans 
of the new governor. — Establishment of the frontier armed 
and mounted police. — Second invasion of Kreli's country. — 
Clearing of the Kroome and Amatola fastnesses. — Conclusion 
of peace.— Fate of Umlanjeni and Uithaalder. — Occupation of 
forfeited land. — Foundation of Queenstown and Seymour. — 
Form of government of British Kaffraria. — Resumption of 
their labours by the missionaries 91 






Causes of the delay in establishing representative institutions. — 
Views of Earl Grey on the matter. — Instruction* given to Sir 
Harry Smith. — Memoranda drawn up by the principal officials 
of the Cape government. — Preparation of a draft constitution 
by the attorney-general. — Reference of the papers to a com- 
mittee of the privy council. — Issue of an order in council 
granting representative institutions, but requiring the details 
to be filled in at the Cape. — Proceedings of the legislative 
council in the matter. — Resignation of four of the unofficial 
members of the council. — Divergent views of different parties 
in the colony. — Mission to England of delegates of one party. 
— Cause of delay in the proceedings. — Appointment of new 
members of the legislative council. — Completion of the con- 
stitution ordinances in the Cape Colony. — Cause of delay in 
England. — Agitation in the colony. — Alteration of the con- 
stitution ordinances in England. — Order in council confirming 
the constitution. — Details of the constitution. — Election of 
members of parliament. — Meeting of the first Cape parliament. 
— Revenue and expenditure. — Population of the colony. — 
Exports and imports. — Statistics of shipping. — Various marks 
of progress ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 118 

Contents. vii 






Loss of the transport Charlotte in Algoa Bay. — Arrival of Governor 
Sir George Grey. — Particulars concerning Sir George Grey. — 
Appointment of a lieutenant-governor for the eastern province. 
— Enlargement of the supreme court. — Creation of nine new 
magisterial districts. — Enlargement of the frontier armed and 
mounted police force. — Creation of divisional councils. — Altera- 
tion in the customs tariff. — Discussion on responsible govern- 
ment in the Cape parliament. — Redress of grievances of the 
remaining Hottentots at the Kat river. — Great losses through 
sickness in horned cattle and horses. — Resumption in parlia- 
ment of the debate on responsible government. — Rejection by 
the house of assembly of a proposal for the separation of the 
two provinces. — Discussion on the voluntary principle in 
relation to churches. — Enlargement of an electoral division. — 
Particulars concerning steam communication with England. — 
Establishment of the South African museum. — Commencement 
of holding periodical courts. — Aid supplied by Sir George 
Grey to the government of India during the mutiny. — 
Appointment of a board of examiners. — Fixing of a unit 
of land measure in the colony. — Commencement of the 
construction of railways in South Africa 145 




Particulars concerning the construction of harbour works in 
Table Bay. — Construction of a patent slip in Simon's Bay. — 

viii Contents. 

Failure of efforts to improve Algoa Bay and Port Frances. — 
Construction of three more lighthouses on the coast. — Progress 
in other public works. — Revenue of the Cape Colony from 
1856 to 1861. — Exports during the same period. — Immigration 
from Holland. — Particulars of a large and most important 
influx of settlers from Great Britain. — Mishap to one of the 
emigrant transports. — Severe drought in 1859. — Spread of 
the xanthium spinosum. — First appearance of the oidium in 
the vineyards. — Loss occasioned by it. — Outbreak of smallpox 
in 1858 and 1859. — Immigration from Northern Germany. — 
Condition of South Africa in 1859. — Views of Sir George Grey 
regarding the federation of the various communities. — Dis- 
approval of those views by the imperial ministry. — Recall 
of Sir George Grey. — Consternation throughout South Africa. 
— Transfer of the administration to Lieutenant- General 
Wynyard. — Particulars concerning volunteers and other 
colonial forces. — Strength of the British military force in 
South Africa. — Reappointment of Sir George Grey as governor 
and high commissioner, and his return to the colony ... ... 166 



Unsatisfactory condition of affairs in British Kaffraria. — Views 
of Sir George Cathcart with regard to the province. — Grants 
of salaries to the Bantu chiefs by Sir George Grey in return 
for important concessions. — Appointment of British magistrates 
with the chiefs. — Construction of roads and watercourses in 
British Kaffraria. — Commencement of harbour works at the 
mouth of the Buffalo river.— -Erection of the Grey hospital in 
King-Williamstown. — Encouragement of industrial schools by 
Sir George Grey. — Imperial grants of money in aid of the 
governor's plans. — Failure of Sir George Grey's scheme for 
the introduction of British enrolled pensioners as settlers. — 
Building and occupation of the pensioners' village in King- 
Williamstown. — Plan under which over two thousand men of 
the British German legion are located in British Kaffraria. — 
Number of Europeans in British Kaffraria before their arrival. 
— Suspicions of the loyalty of the Fingos entertained by the 
colonists. — Report upon this subject by a committee of the 
legislative council. — Suspicious conduct of the principal Xosa 

Contents. ix 

chiefs. — Reduction of the troops in South Africa after the 
close of the last war. — Arrival of strong reinforcements at the 
present juncture. — Spread of the lung sickness among cattle 
into British Kaffraria. — Announcement of Umhlakaza and 
Nongqause. — -Infatuation of the Xosas and Tembus. — Destruc- 
tion by them of their cattle and their corn. — Terrible result 
to the tribes. — Census returns. — Dispersion of robber bands. 
— Action of Sir George Grey « M ••• ... 188 



Condition of the Xosa tribe. — Decline of the power of the chiefs. — 
Subsequent careers of Kreli, Sandile, Makoma, Anta, Oba, 
Botumane, Umhala, Toyise, Stokwe, Pato. and Siyolo. — 
Account of Siwani and of Kama. — Careers of the Tembu chiefs 
Vadana and Kwesha. — Loyalty of the Eingos. — Effects of the 
self destruction of the Xosas upon the Europeans. — Confiscation 
of the locations of Makoma, Botumane, Umhala, and Pato. — 
Ejection of the Galekas from the territory between the Kei 
and the Bashee. — Account of the German legion. — Arrival of 
a few immigrants in the Lady Kennaivay. — Introduction of 
an excellent body of agricultural immigrants from Northern 
Germany. — Despatch of a thousand men of the German legion 
to India. — Census of British Kaffraria at the end of 1858. — 
Imports and exports of the province from 1855 to 1858. — 
Account of the German agricultural immigrants. — Disapproval 
by the imperial authorities of this scheme of immigration. — 
Grant of three hundred and two^ farms to colonists in the 
forfeited locations. — Restoration of the port of East London to 
British Kaffraria. — Proclamation concerning customs duties. — 
Census of the province at the end of 1859. — Mission stations 
in the province. — Census of the territory between the Kei 
and the Bashee at the end of 1859. — Issue of letters patent 
defining the boundaries of the province and settling the form 
of its government. — Judicial arrangements. — Appointment of 
officials. — Postal arrangements. — Erection of a lighthouse at 
East London. — Villages along the great northern road. — 
Description of Eling-Williamstown in 1860 208 

x Contents* 



Condition of Natal in 1845. — Classification of the Bantu inhabitants. 
— Character of the administration. — Selection of seven large 
areas for the exclusive use of the Bantu. — Account of the 
Xesibes. — Application by the Xesibe chief to the Natal 
government for protection from the Pondos. — Annexation of 
the Xesibe district to the Cape Colony. — Account of the 
Amaxolo clan. — Annexation of their territory to Natal. — 
Conduct of Ukane, their chief. — Condition of the Bantu in 
Natal before 1849. — Order in council defining the position of 
the Bantu clans. — Appointment of European magistrates in 
the large locations. — Levy of hut-tax upon the Bantu. — 
Account of the Hlubi tribe. — Flight of a section of this tribe 
from Zululand into Natal in 1848. — Its location at the sources 
of the Bushman's river. — Social condition of the Bantu. — 
Strength of the British garrison in Natal. — Proposal of Mr. 
Theophilus Shepstone to establish a large Bantu state on 
the high plateau southwest of Natal. — Attitude of the Pondo 
chief Faku. — Prevention by Sir George Grey of Mr. Shep- 
stone' s plan being carried out. — Condition of Zululand. — 
Destruction of Umbulazi and his adherents by his brother 
Ketshwayo. — Rebellion of the chief Sidoyi in the south of 
Natal. — His deposition and banishment. — Rebellion of the 
chief Matyana in the Klip River county. —Action taken 
against him by the government.— Deplorable occurrence at 
Matyana' s kraal. — His flight into Zululand and the dispersion 
of his people. — Subsequent peace in Natal for many years. — 
Number of Bantu in Natal in 1857. — Cause of the mode of 
dealing with the Bantu 


WEB district OF natal. 1845 to 1857 — (continued). 


Small volume of European immigration into Natal. — Causes of the 
complaints of the farmers regarding land. — Unsuccessful 
mission of Mr. A. W. J. Pretorius to Sir Henry Pottinger.— 

Contents. xi 

Increased emigration from the Cape Colony.— Visit of Sir 
Harry Smith to Natal. — Conference with the farmers. — 
Arrangement with regard to land. — Appointment of a com- 
mission to carry it out. — Effects of this arrangement upon 
Natal. — Arrival of a few immigrants from Northern Germany. 
— Particulars concerning the immigration of a considerable 
number of people from Great Britain under the direction of 
Mr. J. C. Byrne. — Offer of farms on military tenure to immi- 
grants. — Grants of land on quitrent tenure. — Alteration in 
the law of inheritance. — Physical features of Natal. — Experi- 
ments in cultivating tropical and semi-tropical plants. — Loss 
occasioned by lung-sickness among cattle. — Introduction of 
wool-bearing sheep. — Arrival of Bishop Colenso. — Account of 
the press in Natal. — Establishment of the Natal Fire Assur- 
ance and Trust Company and the Natal Bank. — Foundation 
of new villages. — Means for administering justice. — Revenue 
of the district. — Exports and imports of Natal. — Creation of 
an official legislative council. — Introduction of municipal insti- 
tutions. — Erection of Natal into a separate colony. — Particulars 
concerning the charter. — Meeting of the first representative 
council ••« ... ... ... ... ... ••• ... ... ^-u 



Visit of Sir Harry Smith to the territory north of the Orange 
river. — Causes of the increased antipathy of the emigrant 
farmers to British rule. — Plans of Sir Harry Smith for the 
settlement of the country. — New arrangement with Adam Kok. 
— Meeting of the governor with friendly farmers at Bloem- 
fontein. — New arrangement with Moshesh. — Visit of Sir Harry 
Smith to the emigrant camp on the Tugela. — Proclamation of 
the queen's sovereignty over the territory between the Orange 
and Vaal rivers and the Drakerisberg. — Form of government 
of the Sovereignty. — Armed opposition of the emigrant farmers. 
— Election of Andries Pretorius as commandant-general. — 
Capitulation of Major Warden at Bloemfontein. — Despatch of 
a strong military force to the Sovereignty. — Assumption of 
the chief command by Sir Harry Smith in person. — Defeat of 
the emigrant farmers at Boomplaats. — Execution of two 
prisoners at Bloemfontein. — Punishment of the opponents of 
the British government. — Appointment of officials for the 
Sovereignty. — Construction of the Queen's fort at Bloemfontein 270 

xii Contents. 



Visit of a deputation of clergymen to the Sovereignty. — Appoint- 
ment of a clergyman to Bloemfontein. — Regulations for the 
government of the Sovereignty. — Feuds of the Basuto and 
Batlokua. — Definition of reserves for the various clans of 
coloured people within the limits of the Sovereignty. — 
Relationship of the government to the chiefs and people in 
the reserves. — Treatment of coloured people outside the reserves 
in the Sovereignty. — Establishment of churches and schools. — 
Revenue and expenditure. — Publication of a newspaper. — 
Assignment of locations along the Vaal to Kausop, Goliath 
Yzerbek, David Danser, and Jan Bloem. — Claims of the 
captains Cornells Kok and Andries Waterboer. — Issue of 
letters patent creating a constitution for the Orange River 
Sovereignty. — Murders by Bushmen. — Dealings with the Basuto 
captain Poshuli. — Feuds of the Batlokua and Basuto. — Inter- 
ference of the British resident in these quarrels. — Plunder 
of Moroko's Barolong. — Conduct of Poshuli. — Hostilities with the 
Baputi. — Objection of the farmers to interfere in the 
feuds between the Bantu clans. — Expedition against Moshesh. 
—Battle of Viervoet. — Disastrous results of the defeat of the 
British resident at Viervoet. — Arrival of troops and Bantu 
auxiliaries from Natal. — Plunder of loyal farmers by the 
Basuto. — Views of the imperial government. — Action of the 
republican party in the Sovereignty. — Alliance of Moshesh 
with the party hostile to British rule ... 296 



Arrival in the Sovereignty of the assistant commissioners Hogg 
and Owen. — Condition of affairs in the Sovereignty. — Pro- 
ceedings of the assistant commissioners. — Retirement of the 
farmers most disaffected to British rule to the territory north 
of the Vaal river. — Negotiations with Moshesh. — Agreement 
of peace. — Neglect of the Basuto to carry out the conditions. 
— Devastation of the Batlokua country. — Raid by the people 
of Carolus Baatje. — Appointment of Mr. Henry Green as 
successor to Major Warden. — Plunder of the Barolong by 

Contents. xiii 

the Basuto. — Meeting of representatives of the people at 
Bloemfontein. — Tenor of the resolutions adopted. — March of 
General Cathcart with a strong army to the Lesuto. — Terms 
offered to Moshesh. — Rejection of the terms by the Basuto. — ■ 
Battle of Berea. — Retreat of General Cathcart. — Prudent 
conduct of Moshesh. — Declaration of peace by General 
Cathcart. — Murmuring in the army. — Retirement of General 
Cathcart from the Sovereignty. — Consternation of the 
Europeans and allied clans. — Decision of the imperial 
government to abandon the Sovereignty. — Politic attitude of 
Moshesh. — Ejection of Tulu from his location 324 



Appointment of Sir George Clerk as special commissioner to 
withdraw British rule from the Sovereignty. — State of affairs 
in the Griqua reserve. — Meeting of delegates convened by 
the special commissioner. — Proceedings of the delegates. — 
Invitation to the republicans to elect a rival assembly. — 
Mission of the reverend Mr. Murray and Dr. Fraser to 
England. — Conquest of the Batlokua country by the Basuto. 
— Death of Gert Taaibosch in battle. — Fate of Sikonyela. — 
Memorials against abandonment. — Investigation of charges 
made against the emigrant farmers. — Meeting of the two 
assemblies at Bloemfontein in February 1854. — Dissolution 
of the obstructionist assembly by Sir George Clerk. — Agree- 
ment with the well-disposed assembly. — Terms of the con- 
vention. — Negotiations with Adam Kok. — Failure of the 
mission of Messrs. Murray and Fraser ... 349 



Ooirespondence between Major Warden and Mr. A. W. J. Pretorius. 
— Arrival of the assistant commissioners Hogg and Owen at 
Bloemfontein. — Negotiations between them and Mr. Pretorius. 
— Form of government of the farmers north of the Vaal. — 
Conference at the farm of Mr. P. A. Venter. — Conclusion 
.of the Sand River convention. — Conditions of the convention, 

xiv Contents. 

— Reconciliation of Mr. Pretorius and Mr. Potgieter. — Ratifi- 
cation of the Sand River convention by the volksraad and 
by the British government. — Condition of the people at this 
time. — Migrations of sections of the Barolong tribe. — Dealings 
of the republican government with the clan under Montsiwa. 
— Arming of the northern tribes by European hunters and 
traders. — Attempts of the republican government to prevent 
the introduction of guns and ammunition. — Account of the 
war with the Bapedi tribe 



Account of the Bakwena tribe. — Attitude of the reverend Dr. 
Livingstone. — Interview of the reverend Messrs. Robertson 
and Faure with Dr. Livingstone. — Account of the war with 
the Bakwena tribe. — Dealings of the republican government 
with the Barolong clan under Montsiwa. — Banishment of the 
reverend Messrs. Inglis and Edwards from the republic. — 
Conclusion of peace with Montsiwa. — Death of Messrs. 
A. H. Potgieter and A. W. J. Pretorius. — Form of govern- 
ment of the republic in 1854. — Account of the tribes between 
the Limpopo and Zambesi rivers in 1854. — Conclusion of an 
agreement of amity between the republic and Moselekatse 



Disoord in the South African Republic. — Weakness of the govern- 
ment. — Acts of injustice caused by party feeling. — Slow 
increase of white inhabitants. — Revolt of several clans at 
Zoutpansberg. — Laws relating to intercourse between whites 
and blacks. — Massacre of a party of Europeans. — March of 
the commandants-general Potgieter and Pretorius against 
the rebellious clans.— Death of Commandant-General P. G. 
Potgieter. — Severe punishment of Makapan's people. — 
Election of Stephanus Schoeman as commandant-general 
in succession to P. G. Potgieter. — Ecclesiastical strife. — 
Foundation of the town of Pretoria and district of the 

Contents. xv 

same name. — Public meetings in Rustenburg, Pretoria, and 
Potchefstroom. — Resolutions to adopt a new constitution. — ■ 
Election of a representative assembly. — The constitution. — 
Staff of officials appointed by the representative assembly. — 
Repudiation of the new constitution by Zoutpansberg and 
Lydenburg. — Mission of Messrs. Pretorius and Goetz to 
Bloemfontein to endeavour to effect the union of the two 
republics. — Proceedings of the government at Potchefstroom. 
— Secession of Lydenburg and its erection into an inde- 
pendent state. — Foundation of the district of Utrecht. — 
Union between Utrecht and Lydenburg. — Proceedings of 
Messrs. Pretorius and Goetz in Bloemfontein. — Invasion 
of the Free State by Transvaal burghers. — Measures of 
defence. — Negotiations for peace. — Treaty between the 
Orange Free State and the South African Republic. — 
Publication of a Gazette. — Dealings with the Bakwena chief 
Set3heli. — Trade in indentures of apprenticeship. — Recon- 
ciliation with Zoutpansberg, and incorporation of that 
district with the South African Republic 414 



Position of the various tribes and clans on the abandonment of 
the Sovereignty. — Condition of the Europeans. — Meeting of 
the first volksraad of the Orange Free State. — Adoption of 
a republican constitution. — Appointment of officials and other 
acts of the volksraad. — Election of Mr. Josias Philip Hoffman 
as president of the Orange Free State. — Arrangements with 
Adam Kok. — Dealings with Moshesh. — Account of Jan Letele. 
— Laws issued by Moshesh. — Petty war between the Koranas 
and Bushmen along the lower -Vaal. — Present of gunpowder 
by President Hoffman to Moshesh. — Resignation of President 
Hoffman. — Appointment by the volksraad of an executive 
committee to act temporarily. — Transactions of the executive 
committee with Moshesh. — Election of Mr. Jacobus Nicolaas 
Boshof as president. — Treaty between the Orange Free State 
and Moshesh brought about by Sir George Grey. — Withdrawal 
of the British agent, Mr. John Burnet, from Bloemfontein, 
and his appointment as civil commissioner and resident 
magistrate of Aliwal North. — Ejection of Witsi from 
Harrismith. — Stock lifting in the Caledon River district. — 

VOL. III. * 

xvi Contents. 

Conduct of Moshesh. — Admission by the Free State govern- 
ment of the claims of Nicholas Waterboer and Comelis Kok 
to ground between the Modder and Orange rivers. — Settle- 
ment of these claims by means of the boundary known as 
the Vetberg line. — Changes in the district offices of the 
Orange Free State ... 441 




Proposal of Moshesh to call in Sir George Grey as arbitrator. — 
Factions in the Free State. — Resignation of President Boshof 
and his restoration to office by the volksraad.— -Efforts of the 
Basuto to provoke hostilities. — Decision of the volksraad.— 
Raid by Poshuli. — Call of the burghers to arms. — Reception of 
Jan Letele as a subject of the Free State.- — Ultimatum sent 
to Moshesh. — Declaration of war. — Comparison of forces. — 
Summary of causes that led to war. — Commencement of 
hostilities. — Events at Beersheba. — The Free State plan of 
campaign. — Moshesh's plan. — Storming of Vechtkop. — Progress 
of the commando of the south. — Battles of Koranaberg and 
Cathcart's Drift. — Junction of the two commandos. — Destruction 
of Morija. — Arrival of the army at Thaba Bosigo. — Raids by 
the Basuto into the Free State. — Dissolution of the Free 
State army. — Appeals of President Boshof to President 
Pretorius and Sir George Grey. — Action of the volksraad of the 
South African Republic. — Action of the parliament of the Cape 
Colony. — Acceptance of Sir George Grey's offer of mediation. — 
Truce between the Free State and the Basuto. — Dealings with 
David Danser and Goliath Yzerbek. — Murders and robberies 
committed by Scheel Kobus. — Alliance of Goliath Yzerbek and- 
the Batlapin chiefs Gasibone and Matlabane with Scheei 
Kobus. — Account of the Batlapin. — Raids into the Free State 
and South African Republic. — Expedition against Scheel Kobus. 
— Massacre of prisoners. — Expedition against Gasibone and 
Mahura. — Terms of peace with Mahura. — Efforts towards union 
of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic. — 
Agreement between Moshesh and commissioners of the two 
republics. — Mediation of Sir George Grey between the Free 
State and the Basuto. — Conclusion of peace. — Terms of the 
treaty of peace ... ... ... 46& 


X. Showing the Extent and Divisions of thh 

Cape Colony in 1848 ... ... ... fating page 58 

XL British Kaffraria as portioned out by Sir 

George Cathcart ... ,, ,, 183 

XII. Thb Orange Eiyer Sovereignty ,, ,, .303 






On the 16th of March 1846 a Kaffir who was known by 
the Dutch name Klein tje, having been detected in the act of 
stealing an axe at Fort Beaufort, was sent from that place 
by Mr. Meent Borcherds, the resident justice of the peace, 
to be tried by the magistrate at Grahamstown. Two 
Hottentot offenders and a dragoon who had committed some 
crime accompanied him, and for security they were hand- 
cuffed in pairs. Four armed Hottentots were sent with them 
as a guard. 

Just after the prisoners left, the chief Tola appeared at 
Fort Beaufort, and desired the agent-general to have Kleintje 
brought back and released ; but his request was refused. 
He then sent one of his attendants to the nearest kraal 
with instructions that his follower was to be rescued. 

From Fort Beaufort the road to Grahamstown runs for 
some distance along the right bank of the Kat river. The 
prisoners with their guard proceeded on it for a couple of 
hours, when they sat down by the river side to rest and 
eat some food. Suddenly about forty Xosas rushed from 
a thicket close by, and seized two of the guns which were 


2 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

lying on the ground before the guard could get hold of 
them. One of the Hottentots, seeing a companion beneath a 
Kaffir, fired at the assailant and killed him on the spot. 
The four men of the guard then sought safety in flight, and 
by good fortune managed to reach a wayside inn at no 
great distance. The Kaffirs murdered the Hottentot to 
whom Klein tje was manacled, and having cut off his hand 
to release their friend, they started off as quickly as they 
appeared, taking the two guns belonging to the guard with 
them. The other prisoners were left unharmed. 

Kleintje's crime was committed in the colony, and the 
murdered Hottentot was a British subject, so the matter 
could not be overlooked. The lieutenant-governor demanded 
the surrender of the rescued prisoner and the murderer of 
the Hottentot. Tola, their immediate head, declined to give 
them up, though he sent the two guns to Mr. Stretch. The 
old chief Botumane, of the Imidange clan, to which Tola 
belonged, also refused to deliver them to justice. He gave 
as his view of the case that the death of the Hottentot was 
compensated by the death of Kleintje's brother, the Kaffir 
who was shot, so that the matter should be allowed to drop. 
If the governor was grieving for the Hottentot, he said, he 
was grieving for his man. Sandile, with whose people the 
criminals were known to be, was also called upon to surrender 
them, and acted in the same manner as the others. 

Colonel Hare was thus obliged to seek redress by force 
of arms. He directed the colonists near the border to be 
on their guard, distributed arms to those who needed them, 
strengthened the garrisons of the forts Peddie and Beaufort, 
and then prepared to send a body of troops to occupy Sandile's 
kraal. While these arrangements were being made, the traders 
and some of the missionaries in Kaffirland were plundered, 
and therefore considered it advisable to leave the countrv as 


fast as they could. Other missionaries placed such confidence 
in the people with whom they were living that they remained 
at their stations until an order from Colonel Hare required 
them to remove to the colony. 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 3 

An extraordinary instance of the power of the Kaffirs to 
deceive was shown in the case of the reverend John Brownlee, 
of the London society, missionary at Jan Tshatshu's kraal. 
He was one of the most sensible men in South Africa, yet 
he actually applied for arms to be served out to Tshatshu's 
followers, and asserted that those people would be as useful 
as soldiers to the government. He had not many days to 
wait before he was of a very different opinion. 

On the 31st of March the lieutenant-governor issued a 
proclamation, calling the burghers of the eastern districts to 
arms, his object being to establish a line of posts to protect 
the colony from invasion while the troops were at Sandile's 

When the intelligence reached Capetown Sir Peregrine 
Maitland recognised at once that the crisis had arrived, for 
such a condition of things on the frontier could be tolerated 
no longer. On the 27th of March he sent the war-steamer 
Thunderbolt to Algoa Bay with all the soldiers that could be 
spared : eighty men of the 27th regiment, under Lieutenant- 
Golonel Montague Johnstone, and two field-pieces with 
Captain Eardley Wilmot, of the royal artillery. On the 
31st he published a manifesto, in which he stated the 
necessity of redressing the wrongs from which the colony 
was suffering, and on the 1st of April he embarked at 
Simon's Bay in the ship-of-war President te proceed to the 

The military force on the border at this time consisted of 
detachments of two battalions of the 91st and one of the 
27th, mustering in all nine hundred and ninety-four effective 
rank and file, the 7th dragoon guards, three hundred and 
thirty-seven strong, four hundred Cape mounted riflemen, and 
a few artillerymen and engineers. 

It was necessary to leave the greater number of the 
infantry to guard the various posts, but fifteen hundred men 
were got ready to take the field by calling out the Hottentots 
of Stockenstrom, as the settlement at the Kat river was 
named by a government notice on the 15th of August 1844. 

4 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

Without waiting until the burghers could assemble to 
prevent the Kaffirs from rushing into the colony, Colonel 
Hare directed this force to march to Burnshill. He was an 
upright and amiable man, but he had neither the ability, 
nor the energy, nor the tact necessary for the post which 
he then filled. He was in ill health, and was hoping to 
leave for England in a few days when hostilities were forced 
upon him. The position of lieutenant-governor irritated him, 
because there was no real power attached to it, and on many 
points his views were at variance with those of Sir Peregrine 
Maitland. On this occasion he made almost incredible 
blunders. He greatly underrated the power of the Kaffirs, 
and believed that by taking possession of Sandile's kraal he 
would at once bring the hostile clans to submission. And 
so he commenced operations before a sufficient force was 
assembled to prevent the invasion of the colony, and with 
less than a month's provisions in his stores. 

From Post Victoria to Sandile's kraal at Burnshill is only 
a good ride on horseback, a Hottentot or a Fingo can march 
from one place to the other on foot without resting on the 
way. No necessity therefore existed for encumbering a 
column with a great quantity of baggage or provisions, 
when a secure base of supplies was so close at hand. 
Waggons were not needed to form a lager, for no one had 
the slightest fear of Xosas attacking a strong body of troops 
except in an ambush. 

Yet no fewer than one hundred and twenty-five waggons, 
conveying baggage of all kinds, provisions, and ammunition, 
accompanied the force. In place of making a sudden dash, 
which alone could succeed, notice of what was about to be 
attempted was given to all Kaffirland by the collection of 
such a number of vehicles at Post Victoria. One hundred 
and twenty-five waggons, each drawn by fourteen oxen, form 
a line at least five kilometres or three miles in length, for 
in a broken bushy country, without bridges or proper roads, 
such as that between Post Victoria and Burnshill in 1846, 
they could only proceed one after another. 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 5 

The force was composed of three divisions, which were 
to march from different points and unite at Burnshill. 
Colonel Henry Somerset, of the Cape mounted rifles, was 
then to assume the chief command. On the 11th of April 
1846 Colonel Somerset marched from Post Victoria with 
his own regiment and four companies of the 91st ; Lieutenant- 
Colonel Robert Richardson marched from Fort Peddie with 
the 7th dragoon guards, and Captain William Sutton, of the 
Cape mounted rifles, from Eland's post at the Kat river with 
the Hottentot levies. 

On the 15th the columns united at Burnshill and formed 
a camp. The country they marched through appeared quite 
deserted, as was also Sandile's kraal when they reached it, 
the whole of the Gaika and Imidange clans having retired to 
the forests of the Amatola. On the 16th Colonel Somerset 
moved against Sandile, leaving Major John Hope Gibsone, 
of the 7th dragoons, in charge of the camp. As soon as the 
troops got into the bushy defiles the Xosas appeared in 
great numbers. Some sharp skirmishing took place, but 
one division managed to capture eighteen hundred head 
of cattle, after which the soldiers and Hottentots kindled 
huge fires and rested by their arms for the night. Mean- 
time the camp was attacked, but the assailants were beaten 

At daybreak on the 17th Colonel Somerset, believing that 
the whole of the hostile Kaffirs were on his front, sent an 
order to Major Gibsone to break up the camp at Burnshill 
and join him. At half past ten o'clock the first waggons 
began to move off! The train . was so long that only an 
advance and rear guard could be provided, and the soldiers 
employed on this duty were chiefly dragoons, who were 
almost useless in such a country. 

When passing through a narrow gorge one of the central 
waggons stuck fast, and all behind were brought to a stand. 
In a moment a horde of Gaikas rushed down from a bushy 
height and cut the oxen loose, there being no one but the 
drivers and leaders to resist them. The dragoons in the rear 

6 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

were unable even to get near the place, and thus between 
eight and nine hundred oxen and sixty-one waggons laden 
with baggage and stores fell into the hands of the Kaffirs. 
Those laden with ammunition were the last in the train, 
and they also must have been lost if the drivers and leaders 
of the others had not hurried back to defend them. While 
the Kaffirs were engaged in the pillage of the stores Major 
Gibsone retreated to Burnshill with the ammunition, and 
was shortly afterwards joined by a company of the 91st 
under Major Campbell, who had been sent to meet the train, 
but arrived too late. 

The waggons that were in front of the one which stuck 
in the gorge reached their destination in safety, and by 
making a detour Major Gibsone was able to join the main 
party some hours later with what was left of the camp. 
Colonel Somerset now resolved t@ retreat, as he felt certain 
that the Kaffirs, elated with their success, would pour into 
the defenceless colony. The column was followed closely 
by the exulting Xosas, but on the next day succeeded in 
reaching Blockdrift on the Tyumie without further disaster. 
A large stone building belonging to the Lovedale mission 
was taken possession of there, and was converted into a 
temporary barrack and fort. 

In this disastrous expedition Captain Bambrick, of the 
7th dragoon guards, a young colonist named M'Cormick, 
ten men of the 91st, one Hottentot from ths Kat river, and 
four Cape mounted riflemen were killed, fourteen soldiers 
were severely wounded, and a number of others were more 
or less hurt. The eighteen hundred captured cattle were 
brought out, but their value was a trifle compared with what 
was lost. 

The Gaikas and their allies now rushed into the colony, 
and commenced to drive off the cattle and to burn the 
buildings and cornstacks. The country people had assembled 
in little parties for mutual protection, and were not taken by 
surprise as in the last war, so that very few were mur- 
dered. Nearly all the camps were attacked, but none were 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 7 

overpowered, though several — including the village of Riebeek 
East — were afterwards abandoned. From the pastures close 
to the military posts the raiders drove off the commissariat 
cattle, and taunted the soldiers with challenges to come 

The colonists who lost their lives in this raid were twelve 
in number : Messrs. Joshua Norden, Christiaan Nel, Elias 
Nel, J. Murray, R. Webb, C. Brass, P. van der Westhuizen, 
Towell, Clark, Kromhout, Middleton, and Skirrow. Mr. 
Norden, a leading member of the Jewish congregation, was 
captain of the Grahamstown yeomanry corps, and was killed 
while out with a patrol. A young man named Pike, who was 
in charge of some transport waggons, and who was murdered 
by Kaffirs near Botha's Hill, is included in the Rst of victims 
of the raid by several writers of the time, but he lost his life 
on the 11th of April, some days before the great body of the 
Kaffirs entered the colony. Captain Sandes, of the Cape 
mounted riflemen, and five or sis soldiers were also killed. 
The bodies of all those who fell into the hands of the Kaffirs 
were horribly mutilated. 

The loss of property was immense, and the government, 
in addition to a war, now had to provide for several thousand 
destitute people. 

For either contingency the authorities were utterly unpre- 
pared. The country was parched by a long drought, so that 
transport was exceedingly difficult, and there were no 
supplies of food either for men or horses in the frontier 
posts. Those posts, situated along the Fish river, proved — 
as Sir Peregrine Maitland wrote — of no more use to prevent 
an invasion of the colony than the piers of a bridge to 
prevent the rush of a swollen torrent through its arches. 

It was supposed at first that only the Imidange and 
Gaika clans were hostile, but very shortly nearly the whole 
Xosa tribe was in arms against the Europeans. On the 1st 
of April 1846 the old chief Eno, of the Amambala clan, 
died, after enjoining his sons Stokwe and Sonto on his 
deathbed not to go to war with the white people. They 

8 History of the Cape Colony, [1846 

pledged their word to Captain Maclean that they would 
observe their father's last wishes, and within six weeks sent 
their followers into the colony to plunder and lay waste. 
Umhala made a promise to keep the peace, and observed 
it in the same way as Stokwe and Sonto. Pato, Kobe, 
Siwani, Siyolo, and Nonibe acted in like manner. The 
Galekas of Kreli as in the preceding war professed to be 
neutral, but really aided the Rarabe clans to the full extent 
of their power. 

The only Xosas who took no part against the colony 
were a few families from mission stations, the small clan 
under the captain Kama, the captain Umkayi and his family, 
and the followers of a man named Hermanus, who had been 
some years in the service of the government as an interpreter 
and who had recently collected some people together on a 
tract of land close to Fort Brown. One name more must 
be added, that of a youth who accompanied the reverend 
William Govan to Scotland after the Tyumie mission station 
was destroyed by his countrymen, and who in later years 
returned to South Africa as the reverend Tiyo Soga, an 
earnest, enlightened, zealous, and self-denying Christian 
missionary, such a man as any nation in the world might be 
proud of. Kama had embraced Christianity, and he and his 
followers fought on the colonial side, not indeed against 
their tribesmen, but against the emigrant Tembus. Umkayi's 
followers were among the most active enemies of the colony, 
but the captain himself and his family, thirty-one individuals 
in all, claimed the protection of the troops at Fort Peddie. 
In July these persons were sent to Grahamstown, where they 
were afterwards maintained at the expense of the govern- 
ment. Umkayi's character was utterly worthless. He was 
strongly suspected of being a spy, but if he really tried to 
act as one his abilities were not equal to the task. 

Of the Tembu tribe, that section which was under the 
chief Umtirara professed to be neutral, but some of them 
aided Mapasa's people in ravaging the districts of Somerset 
and Cradock, and the chief himself was strongly suspected 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 9 

of acting deceitfully. Owing to the extent to which he had 
been plundered by the Pondos and the Bacas, he had long 
since abandoned the lower part of the territory between the 
Bashee and the Umtata, and was now living on the Zwart 
Kei, though some of his people were still to be found as far 
east as Clarkebury. The feud between this chief and Kreli 
was so strong that their followers could not act together, 
and Umtirara, though very willing to secrete cattle driven 
from the colony, was ready at any moment to join a 
European force against his neighbour. The clans known as 
the emigrant Tembus were all in arms against the white 
people. Umtirara was only in name their paramount chief, 
for they were quite independent of his authority. 

The Fingos were bitter enemies of the Xosas, and conse- 
quently fought on the side of the Europeans. A few of their 
old men, women, and children who fell into Pa-to's hands at 
the beginning of the war were burned to death, and there- 
after neither Fingo nor Xosa showed mercy to an opponent. 

The strongest garrison on the frontier was that of Fort 
Peddie, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Lindsay, 
of the first battalion of the 91st. This officer was not held 
in much esteem either in military circles or by the colonists, 
and he certainly did nothing that would entitle him to 
regard. Great herds of cattle driven from the colony passed 
almost in sight of Fort Peddie towards Kreli's country, 
without any effort on his part to save them. 

On the 30th of April about a thousand Kaffir warriors 
attacked the Fingos at the Beka mission station, about 
four miles from Fort Peddie. At twelve o'clock the request 
of the Fingos for aid reached Colonel Lindsay, and two 
hours later Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, with a squadron 
of dragoons, some Cape mounted riflemen, fifty men of the 
91st, and two guns, went to their assistance. On arriving 
in sight of the Beka station, it was observed that the Fingos 
were still holding their own. Yet, after firing a few shots 
from his field-pieces without the slightest effect, Colonel 
Richardson returned to the fort. The mission station was 

io History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

set on fire under his eyes, and with two hundred British 
soldiers he abandoned the field, leaving the Fingos to their 
fate. He afterwards gave as reasons that it was late in the 
afternoon, that his horses were jaded, that the ground was 
not adapted for a charge of the dragoons, and that his 
retreat was only a feint to draw the Kaffirs after him. 

The Fingos succeeded in beating the enemy back, but the 
bad effect of the military movement of that day was greater 
even than that of the loss of the waggons at Burnshill. It 
inspired the Kaffirs with confidence in their strength, and 
diminished their fear of the soldiers, so that those who were 
wavering before now joined the war party. 

On the 16th of April Sir Peregrine Maitland arrived at 
Post Victoria, and two days later heard of the disaster at 
Burnshill. Then came tidings of the destructive rush of the 
Kaffirs over the border. On the 22nd he proclaimed the 
whole colony under martial law, and called out the entire 
burgher force. Still he did not interfere with Colonel Hare's 
control of field operations until the 1st of May, when a 
rumour of what had occurred at Peddie reached him. He 
then assumed the chief command. 

Before leaving Capetown he gave instructions that if any 
troops should happen to call they were to be detained and 
sent to the frontier with all possible speed. On the 3rd of 
April the transport Mariner, from Colombo bound to 
Portsmouth, put into Simon's Bay for refreshment. She 
had on board nine officers and two hundred and eighty-three 
rank and file of the 90th regiment, who were immediately 
forwarded to the front. Every effective soldier was sent up 
from Capetown, a volunteer guard taking their place at the 
castle and forts. 

On the 2nd of May, at the request of a number of 
colonists, the governor appointed Sir Andries Stockenstrom 
commandant-general of the burgher forces of the eastern 
districts, with the rank of a colonel on the staff. The 
colonists desired that the entire burgher force of the country 
should be placed under his command, but the governor 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 11 

chose to limit his authority to the eastern province, and a 
few days later to exclude from it the men of Lower Albany 
and Uitenhage. There could no longer be any discussion 
concerning the merits or demerits of the Glenelg policy 
towards the Kaffirs which he had carried out, any more 
than there could be a discussion about the strength or weak- 
ness of a wall which has tumbled down and lies in ruins. 
He was full of energy, anxious to recover that place in the 
affections of his countrymen which he had lost for a time, 
and it was believed that he knew perfectly well what was 
to be done and how to do it. A declaration which he made, 
that in his opinion the Xosas should be expelled for ever 
from the fastnesses of the Amatola, and that British 
authority ought to be extended to the Kei, was received as 
an indication that he had abandoned all defence of his 
conduct as lieutenant-governor. His staunchest opponents 
in 1837 and 1838 were now the foremost to express con- 
fidence in him as a leader of irregular forces in war. They 
did not fear that his disposition, which made it impossible 
for him to work cordially with an equal in power, would 
affect his usefulness as commandant-general, subject only to 
the governor. 

While Sir Andries Stockenstrom was engaged in organising 
burgher forces, collecting supplies of food, and clearing the 
country north of the Winterberg of invaders, Colonel 
Somerset with the Cape corps was busy following up the 
Kaffirs in Albany and Uitenhage, relieving little parties in 
lager, and endeavouring to preserve property. The mission 
station Theopolis, as well as other places, was saved from 
destruction by his exertions. Early in May he routed some 
considerable bodies of Xosas in the valley of the Kowie, and 
he then proceeded to scour the country about Olifant's 
Hoek. He succeeded so well that by the close of the month 
nearly all the invaders had left the colony. 

Beyond the border it had been considered necessary to 
abandon Post Victoria, but the Loved ale mission premises 
at Blockdrift were occupied as a fort, and a strong military 

12 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

force was encamped there under canvas. This was the only 
position held by white men in the Xosa country. Every 
other mission station and every trading post had been 
destroyed. From the Galeka country the diplomatic agent 
and the missionary with their families fled first to Clarke- 
bury, and finding that station insecure, went next to 
Buntingville in Pondoland, where they arrived on the 19th 
of May. 

One of the greatest difficulties which the government had 
to meet was to provide food and clothing for those who had 
lost all their property. Sir Peregrine Maitland adopted the 
plan of Sir Benjamin D'Urban, and on the 8th of May 
appointed a board of relief in Grahamstown, with corre- 
sponding branches in other places. The central board 
consisted of the reverend Messrs. John Heavyside, William 
Shaw, and John Locke, together with Messrs. A. B. Morgan, 
T. Nelson, C. Lucas, and H. B. Rutherfoord, leading men in 
the place. All applications for relief were made to the 
central board either by individuals or by the corresponding 
branches, and it had power to draw upon the commissariat 
for the necessaries of life. From private subscriptions a sum 
of £1,928 was received during the war, and was used to 
meet cases of distress that could not be relieved from the 
commissariat stores. By the 1st of August there were 
nearly eight thousand individuals drawing rations through 
the board of relief, over four thousand of whom were 
Hottentots and other coloured people of Stockenstrom. 
This settlement, instead of being a defence to the frontier, 
as its founders once fondly imagined it would become, was 
in some respects the weakest point in the whole line. 

Supplies of all kinds being needed at Fort Peddie, on the 
18th of May a train of forty-three waggons left Grahams- 
town, with a small escort consisting partly of soldiers and 
partly of burghers. There was a military post at Trom- 
petter's drift, on the right bank of the Fish river, and it 
was arranged that a body of troops from Fort Peddie should 
meet the train somewhere in that neighbourhood to protect 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 13 

it while passing through the jungle. Accordingly on the 
21st the waggons moved on from a little stream about three 
miles beyond the post, with an advance guard under Lieu- 
tenant E. J. Dickson, of the 91st, and a rear guard under 
Captain Colin Campbell, of the same regiment. Altogether 
the escort now consisted of forty burghers and eighty soldiers. 

In the thickest part of the jungle the oxen of the fore- 
most waggons were shot down by concealed Kaffirs, and with 
hardly any exertion the whole train fell into their hands. 
The escort retreated to the post at Trompetter's drift, leaving 
two colonists named Davis and Bower with a Hottentot and 
a Fingo dead on the ground. The Kaffirs plundered the 
stores and drove off the oxen, after setting fire to the 

This success so elated them that they aspired to get 
possession of Fort Peddie, which was a mere earthen 
embankment surrounded by a dry ditch, and might be 
taken by a rush. But it was on an open height between 
two branches of a streamlet that falls into the Fish river, 
and from a watchtower there was an extensive view, so that 
it could not be surprised. Besides, both the infantry and 
cavalry barracks were strong buildings, with high loop-holed 
walls, practically impregnable to Kaffirs. 

On the 27th of May a large body of warriors appeared 
in the neighbourhood, when some troops went out and 
skirmished with them, but neither party gained any advan- 
tage. This movement of the enemy was a mere feint. 
Fortunately, a Fingo overheard a remark of one of the 
Kaffir leaders which betrayed the real object, and he at 
once made Captain Maclean acquainted with it. 

At half past ten on the following morning a considerable 
force again appeared in sight, with the design of drawing 
the garrison out, but as the object was known the troops 
were kept within the walls. Shortly afterwards a great 
horde came over a hill, with the intention of rushing upon 
the fort while the soldiers were absent from it. The 
Fingos of the neighbouring location had placed their wives 

14 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

and children in the ditch, and had driven their cattle under 
the guns. 

At noon some ei^ht thousand warriors were in sight, but 
they were disconcerted by the failure of their stratagem, 
and only a few ventured within reach of the cannon balls. 
They got possession of a trader's store on the outskirts of 
the place, however, and pillaged it. The cattle, being 
frightened, now broke loose, and the Kaffirs succeeded in 
driving off four or five thousand head, though the Fingos 
fought gallantly to save them. For two full hours the 
Kaffirs remained in sight of the fort, but did not venture 
to attempt to take it by storm. In the afternoon they 
retired, having lost in killed some twenty to thirty men. 
Of the Fingos two were killed and three were wounded. 
Of the garrison none were hurt. 

In this attempt to get possession of Fort Peddie the 
Tinde captain Jan Tshatshu took part. After his return 
from England with the reverend Dr. Philip he was puffed 
up with pride and self-importance, and as he had acquired 
a fondness for strong drink, his career thenceforward was 
most unsatisfactory. For ten or twelve days after the 
commencement of the war he remained with Mr. Stretch, 
and professed to be a firm friend of the Europeans, while in 
fact he was a spy. His defection was of little importance 
in a military point of view, as his clan was small, but it 
tended greatly to discourage those who were anxious for the 
civilisation of his countrymen. 

To get supplies to Fort Peddie was now the first object 
of Sir Peregrine Maitland. A train of eighty-two waggons 
was laden, and all the forces, regular and irregular, that 
could be detached from garrison duty were placed under 
Colonel Somerset's command to act as an escort. They 
exceeded twelve hundred men. On the 31st of May the 
train passed the Fish river at Committee's drift, and in the 
jungle beyond was attacked by the Kaffirs. Three drivers 
were killed, and six were wounded, but the enemy was 
beaten back, and the train reached its destination in safety. 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War, 15 

During the night of the 7th of June a strong party was 
sent from Fort Peddie to attack the kraal of the chief 
Stokwe near the Gwanga rivulet, and thereby to occupy 
the attention of the Kaffirs while the empty waggons with 
an escort of two hundred and fifty men passed through the 
jungle at Trompetter's drift on the way to Grahamstown. 
The party consisted of ttiree hundred Hottentots under 
Captain Size, one hundred Fingos under Captain Symons, 
and a party of the same people under one of their own chiefs. 
At six o'clock in the morning of the 8th Colonel Somerset 
followed with one hundred Cape mounted riflemen under 
Captain Napier, a troop of dragoons under Captain Sir 
Harry Darrell, a troop of volunteer cavalry under Captain 
Lucas, one hundred of the George burghers under Com- 
mandant Muller, and two guns under Captain Brown of the 
royal artillery. 

At half past seven the two divisions united and had a 
smart engagement with a body of Kaffirs, who were defeated 
with some loss, when Stokwe's kraal was taken and burned. 
A little after midday, as the enemy had retired, Colonel 
Somerset resolved to proceed with the cavalry to the Gwanga 
in order to rest the horses, which were showing signs of 
fatigue. There was only a little rise in the ground between 
the place where he then was and that where he proposed to 
rest. Just before reaching the top of this rise, Lieutenant 
Bisset, who was mounted on an unruly horse that carried 
him far to the front, galloped back and reported to Colonel 
Somerset that a body of five or six hundred Kaffirs was just 
beyond, in an open country where cavalry could act to 

With a loud hurrah, the whole body rushed forward, 
dashing right in among the Kaffirs, and cutting them down. 
They tried to escape to a jungle five or six miles away, and 
some of them succeeded in reaching it, as most of the troopers' 
horses were too fagged to keep up the chase. A few saved 
their lives by lying flat on the ground and pretending to be 
dead. But over two hundred bodies were counted next 

16 History of the Cape Colony, [1846 

morning, and almost as many more perished of wounds 
received that day. On the European side one Cape mounted 
rifleman and one Fingo were killed, and sixteen men were 
wounded. A hundred guns and over a thousand assagais 
were picked up on the field of slaughter. 

Two prisoners were taken, who informed Colonel Somerset 
that the Kaffirs were of the clans of Umhala and Siyolo, 
and were on the way to Trompetter's drift to establish them- 
selves in the jungle so as to cut off communication between 
Fort Peddie and Grahamstown. 

It was against all rules of Kaffir warfare for a large body 
of warriors to cross an open country in daylight, but their 
successes had led them to disregard ordinary customs. They 
never did so again, for they learned a lesson at the Gwanga 
that needed no repetition. 

By the end of June there was in the field a force sur- 
passing in strength any army that had ever before been 
assembled on the frontier. The returns of the regular troops 
showed that there were then in South Africa three thousand 
eight hundred and forty-nine officers and men, of whom five 
hundred and twenty-six were in Natal, sixty-eight in Cape- 
town, forty-eight in Port Elizabeth, and the remainder 
on the border. These last consisted of the 7th dragoon 
guards, three hundred and twenty - five all told ; one 
hundred and fourteen officers and men of the royal 
artillery ; one hundred and fifty -five officers and men of the 
royal engineers; two battalions of the 91st regiment of the 
line, together nine hundred and eighty-three all told ; the 27th 
regiment of the line, four hundred and sixteen officers and 
men ; one hundred and fifty - one officers and men of the 
first battalion of the 45th ; the 90th regiment of the 
line — the remainder of which arrived at Port Elizabeth in 
the barque Maria Somes on the 8th of July, and was detained 
by order of the governor — four hundred and thirty-nine 
strong ; and the Cape corps — to which two provisional 
companies had been attached — six hundred and twenty-four 
officers and men. 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. iy 

Of irregular forces there were five thousand five hundred 
and .sixty-four burghers and volunteers on the frontier, in 
addition to two thousand nine hundred and forty-four in 
Uitenhage and Lower Albany not actually in the field, but- 
ready if necessary to form a second line of defence under 
Major-General Cuyler, having been withdrawn from Sir 
Andries Stockenstrom's command for that purpose. There 
were eight hundred half-breeds and Hottentots serving 
without pay, under Captain Sutton and Commandant 
Groepe, and two hundred and sixty-four European officers 
with four thousand and forty-nine paid Malays, Fingos, 
Hottentots, and liberated slaves. 

The government had thus to provide food on the 
frontier for thirteen thousand eight hundred and eighty- 
four fighting men, in addition to a host of waggon 
drivers and leaders and some eight thousand individuals 
who had been reduced to destitution by the inroad of the 

The eastern districts and the Kaffir country were at the 
time suffering from prolonged drought, so that transport on 
a large scale was next to impossible. Fortunately, it was 
ascertained that stores could be landed at an indentation on 
the coast about a mile east of the mouth of the Fish river, 
though the holding ground was not good and a heavy swell 
often set on the shore. Fort Peddie was distant only 
twenty-two miles, and the road was easy for cattle and 
unobstructed by jungle. Early in July the first cargo of 
supplies was landed from the schooner Waterloo, of one 
hundred and fifty-eight tons burden, belonging to Captain 
Salmond, and thereafter the indentation was known as 
Waterloo Bay. 

On the western side of the mouth of the Fish river a fort 
was built, which was named Dacres after the admiral on the 
station. It was first occupied by the marines and a number 
of sailors from the ship-of-war President A raft was 
placed upon the river, so that communication with Fort 
Peddie and the camp at Waterloo Bay was now open from 

vol. nr. 


1 8 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

Grahamstown, without the necessity of passing through the 
extensive jungle at the fords higher up. 

A line of defence having been formed to protect the 
colony, active operations were commenced against the enemy. 
On the 13th of June Sir Peregrine Maitland left Grahams- 
town, and established his headquarters at Waterloo Bay. 
Exclusive of the burghers under Sir Andries Stockenstrom, 
the army of operations was formed in two divisions, the 
first or left under Colonel Hare, the second or right under 
Colonel Somerset. The commander-in-chief was with the 
last division. Colonel Hare was at Blockdrift. 

An attack upon the Kaffirs in the Amatola fastnesses 
having been resolved upon, the second division moved from 
Waterloo Bay, and formed a camp on the site of the long 
abandoned fort Beresford, in the upper valley of the Buffalo 
river. There Sir Peregrine Maitland remained, while Colonel 
Somerset with eight hundred and eighty cavalry and seven 
hundred and sixty infantry went in pursuit of Pato, who 
had gone eastward with a great number of cattle swept off 
from the colony. The march was a very difficult one, owing 
to the grass having been burned by the Kaffirs, and the 
horses of the Cape corps and of the Swellendam and George 
burghers, under Commandants Linde and Muller, became so 
exhausted that many of them had to be shot. The infantry 
was composed of Hottentots under Captain Size and Fingos 
under Mr. William Shepstone, who could traverse the 
country even more expeditiously than cavalry. 

On the 21st of July the infantry crossed the Kei, and 
that evening and the following morning divisions returned 
with about five thousand head of cattle recovered from 
Pato's followers. Colonel Somerset then hastened back to 
save his horses, and leaving the greater part of the patrol 
at Fort Beresford, with the remainder he formed a camp on 
the Gwanga. His loss during the expedition was one Fingo 
killed and a European and a Fingo wounded. 

The plan of attack upon the Kaffirs in the Amatola was 
that the second division of the army, with its centre at 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 19 

Fort Beresford and its wings spread out in a curve, should 
block up every outlet to the eastward. The remainder 
of the available force was then to press them from the 
other sides, when it was supposed that they could not 

On the 29th of July two strong divisions commenced to 
scour the country along the range. One of them, led by Sir 
Andries Stockenstrom, consisted of the burghers of Somerset, 
Cradock, Graaff-Reinet, Colesberg, and Beaufort, and the 
Hottentots of the Kat river. Starting from the upper 
Tyumie valley, a body of cavalry ascended to the Bontebok 
flats and spread out to the eastward to prevent the escape 
of the enemy, while the infantry crossed the steep ridge 
along which the Hogsback road now runs, and plunged into 
the ravines and forests beyond. The commandant-general, 
who allowed himself no comfort or convenience that his 
humblest follower did not share, inspired the whole division 
with his courage and energy. 

At the same time Colonel Hare with a strong body of 
regular troops, Fingos, and Hottentot levies, moved from 
Blockdrift along the lower margin of the same belt of 
country, scouring the ravines and thickets before him. 

The forces of a civilised nation could not have escaped 
from such a series of attacks, and must either have beaten 
back their assailants or been destroyed. It was not so with 
the Kaffirs. They had such a perfect system of scouting 
that they knew every movement made against them, their 
scanty stores of grain were concealed in underground pits, 
they used no baggage, and a temporary supply of food could 
be driven about with them. They had no intention of 
exposing themselves to loss of life in action when they knew 
they must be defeated, and so they moved away through 
an open space which by unaccountable neglect of Colonel 
Hare was left beween the extremities of his right wing and 
Colonel Somerset's left. 

By neither division, therefore, were the Kaffirs met in 
any force. Here and there small bodies were encountered 

20 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

in almost impregnable positions, but they made a very 
feeble resistance, and were easily dislodged. From a few 
prisoners captured and from women who were met, informa- 
tion was obtained that the main body of the warriors with the 
cattle had escaped. To pursue them was impossible, as the 
horses were too weak, and thus the operations, which were 
conducted with an enormous amount of fatigue and discom- 
fort, ended in failure. The loss on the European side was 
ten men killed and seven wounded. No cattle were recovered, 
no* could anything be devised to prevent the Kaffirs 
returning to the fastnesses, except the occupation of the 
site of Fort Cox, near the Glasgow mission station Burns- 
hill, on the Keiskama river. This gave the Europeans 
control of the outskirts of the central part of the forest 
country, and consequently was of some advantage, but a 
body of soldiers stationed there, even with Fingos to 
assist them, could not control the ravines at a greater 
distance than could be reached in four or five hours, so 
that the larger portions of the belt of land along the 
Amatola range were still open to the Xosas. 

This kind of warfare, scouring a broken tract of 
country, with deep ravines clothed with trees and underwood 
through which a European could only with great difficulty 
make his way, but which a Kaffir could glide through almost 
as easily as a baboon, was most trying to the tempers of 
the troops and burghers alike. It was particularly so if 
it became known after much fatigue had been gone through 
that the enemy had been lying concealed in the very thickets 
supposed to have been scoured, or had returned to them 
from some other hiding place as soon as the European forces 
were out of sight. 

There was nothing in this war resembling occurrences 
in a campaign in Europe or India, no pitched battle in the 
open field where skill and valour would decide the event of 
the day, no action in which fame or glory could be won, 
nothing but a contemptible hunting for barbarians who 
could get out of the way more quickly than they could be 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 21 

followed. The sole mode of dealing successfully with such 
opponents would have been to capture all their cattle — a 
task itself of very great difficulty, — destroy every particle of 
food within their reach, burn their huts, and send 
away to some distant place of confinement every individual 
of both sexes and all ages that could be made a prisoner. 
But this method of carrying on a war against barbarians is 
not in accordance with the humane ideas of modern Europeans, 
and English public opinion would certainly have objected 
to it in this instance, especially as it was still generally 
believed that the Kaffirs were aboriginal inhabitants 
of the country. In point of fact they were recent colonists, 
the oldest men and women among them then having all 
been born beyond the Kei, but in strict justice they had a 
claim to the Amatola fastnesses, acquired from their incorpora- 
tion of the earlier Hottentot owners, their extermination of 
the aboriginal Bushmen, and from occupation for over three- 
quarters of a century. They were trying to maintain that 
claim in their own way, and though in doing so they made 
things very unpleasant for their European opponents, they 
can hardly be blamed for that. 



Afteb a few days' consideration of what was next to be 
done, Sir Peregrine Maitland resolved to send a flying 
column against Kreli to endeavour to obtain satisfaction 
for the injuries which that chief had inflicted upon the 
colony and security for his future good behaviour. The 
column was in two divisions, respectively under Sir Andries 
Stockenstrom and Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone. It consisted 
in all of two thousand five hundred men, chiefly burghers, 
as Colonel Johnstone's division was partly composed of 
men of the Cape, Worcester, and Swellendam districts, 
under the commandants Eksteen, Dutoit, and Linde. Colonel 
Hare remained at Fort Cox, Colonel Somerset at the camp 
on the Gwanga, and the governor at Fort Beresford. 

On the 14th of August, while the expedition was on the 
march, it was met by a messenger from Kreli, who sent to 
ask what the object of such a movement was and to protest 
against his being attacked, as he was at peace with the 
white people, and as the cattle driven from the colony by 
the Earabes were not in his country but in the territory 
occupied by the Tembus. The messenger was sent back to 
say that Sir Andries Stockenstrom would speak to Kreli 
and hear his statements at his kraal. , The column continued 
its march, and met with no opposition on the way, the only 
mishap being that a number of horses broke down from want 
of food. 

Upon the approach of the column Kreli abandoned his 
kraal and hid himself on a mountain, but left some of his 


1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 23 

counsellors behind, who met the head of the force with a 
white flag, After a little discussion the counsellors con- 
ducted Sir Andries Stockenstrom and his interpreter, Mr. 
Charles Brownlee, to the chiefs retreat, but no other white 
men were permitted to accompany them, though the chief 
had a strong body-guard. Two or three hours later, how- 
ever, Kreli consented to ten more joining them. The 
conference took place on the 21st of August. There were 
present towards its close, in addition to the two Europeans 
named, Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone, the commandants 
Gideon Joubert, of Colesberg, Andries du Toit, of Worcester, 
John C. Molteno, of Beaufort West, W. Dodds Pringle, of 
Somerset East, and Christiaan Groepe, of the Kat river, 
Captain Vereker, of the 27th regiment, and Messrs. Richard 
Paver, Henry Hutton, and Joseph Read. 

On behalf of the British government Sir Andries demanded 
from Kreli satisfaction on four points : — 

1. On his having permitted the border clans under his 
control as their paramount chief to make war upon the 

2. On his having imprisoned the agent appointed by the 
governor to reside in his country, and having put him as 
well as several missionaries in fear of their lives by burning 
their houses and destroying their properties. 

3. On having joined in the war himself, inasmuch as his 
warriors fought against British troops. 

4. On having admitted into his territory the cattle driven 
from the colony. 

Kreli's reply to each of these charges was : — 

1. Did the British government make treaties with the 
border chiefs, and if so, how could he be held responsible 
for their acts ? 

2. When there was a cry for war he told Fynn for the 
sake of safety not to move beyond a certain distance, but 
Fynn and the missionaries were frightened and fled. He 
had not ceased sending friendly messages inviting them to 

24 History of the Cape Colony. \\%tfi 

3. He ordered his followers to keep peace, and when he 
found out that one of his captains had taken part against 
the colonial government, he caused that disobedient one to 
be punished. 

4. He denied having admitted cattle from the colony into 
his territory. 

Sir Andries then offered to accept these explanations if 
Kreli would consent to the following terms : — 

1. To be responsible to the British government for the 
acts of the Gaikas and other border clans as their paramount 
chief, provided he should be acknowledged as such by the 
white people. 

2. To compensate Mr. Fynn and the other British subjects 
in full for all their property taken or destroyed, to solicit 
their return, and to protect them in their persons and 

3. To restore all cattle taken from the colony that he 
could find in his territory, or that could be proved to be 

4 To acknowledge the right of the British government 
to all the land west of the Kei. 

To these conditions Kreli at once agreed. 

When the conference was over the army retired, having 
obtained nothing but the utterly valueless promises of the 
chief. As afterwards ascertained, there were then many 
thousands of cattle taken from the colonists in charge of his 
retainers on the Bashee, and there was visible proof that 
sheep must have been driven into his territory, for wool torn 
from them was still sticking in the mimosas. 

When returning, the army attacked Mapasa on the Zwart 
Kei, and took from him between six and seven thousand 
head of horned cattle. 

On the 16th of August, shortly after Sir Andries Stocken- 
strom and Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone left Fort Beresford 
to proceed to Kreli's country, Captain William Hogg, of the 
7th dragoon guards, was sent from Fort Cox with the 
Hottentots of the western province and some Fingos, one 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 25 

thousand in all, to attack Mapasa. He succeeded in captur- 
ing four thousand head of cattle, many of them with colonial 

This expedition gave great offence to Sir Andries Stocken- 
strom, who even went so far as to assert that it was designed 
and carried out purposely to thwart him, His grievance 
was that he regarded its field of operations as peculiarly his 
own, and could brook no rival in it. He had asked that 
some of the Hottentots who went with Captain Hogg should 
be attached to his command, but had met with a refusal, 
though without being informed that it was in contemplation 
to send them against Mapasa. He asserted also that Captain 
Hogg interfered with some burgher and Hottentot posts 
stationed by him on the emigrant Tembu border, and that 
the expedition had been mismanaged in many ways. This 
event led to much unpleasantness, which was greatly in- 
creased by a dispute between Sir Andries and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Johnstone as to certain circumstances which occurred 
during the conference with Kreli. 

It is needless to enter fully into the nature of the dispute, 
though it caused a great deal of correspondence, which Sir 
Peregrine Maitland justly characterised as contentious and 
acrimonious on the part of Sir Andries. After a short time 
the governor himself became involved in it, as he held the 
same opinions as Colonel Johnstone, that Kreli was insincere, 
while Sir Andries maintained the reverse. Then there arose 
a question as to the object of the expedition across the Kei. 
The governor asserted that it was to obtain satisfaction for 
injuries and security for the future, and that he could not 
view it as having accomplished much more than " bringing 
back some barren words from a crafty chief, whose whole 
bearing belied his sincerity." At the same time he acknow- 
ledged that it could not have accomplished more than it did, 
owing to the condition of the horses. 

Sir Andries Stockenstrom, on the contrary, maintained 
that there was a clear understanding before he left Fort 
Beresford that it was sent to produce a good moral effect, 

26 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

by proving to Kreli that a colonial force could enter his 
territory under the most unfavourable circumstances. He 
asserted that this had been accomplished, and that the terms 
agreed to gave the government a distinct advantage, because 
if Kreli did not observe them he could be attacked with 
justice, whereas it would not have been just to attack him 
before. He questioned the accuracy of the governor's 
statements and the correctness of Colonel Johnstone's 
testimony, and accused Colonel Somerset and Captain Hogg 
of being animated with vindictive feelings towards him. At 
length, on the 25th of November he tendered the resignation 
of his office as commandant-general, owing to want of confi- 
dence on both sides, and on the 27th the governor replied, 
relieving him of his duties. 

There was at this time, unfortunately, a strong feeling of 
dislike between a very large section of the burghers and an 
equally large proportion of the regular forces. The burghers 
asserted that they were required to perform all the most 
difficult and dangerous duties, and were half starved in the 
field, while the regular troops were fully rationed. Sir 
Andries Stockenstrom had taken care to collect an ample 
supply of provisions for the men under his command, and 
their condition was contrasted with that of the burghers 
attached to Colonel Hare's division, greatly to the dis- 
advantage of the latter. The real cause was that the 
commissariat department was unequal to the strain upon it, 
and the queen's forces were regarded as having the first 
claim. Then several of the military officers acted in such 
a manner as to incur the hatred of the colonists. Chief 
among these was Lieutenant-Colonel Lindsay, who was in 
command at Fort Peddie. Among other arbitrary acts of 
this officer, on the 26th of May he caused a waggon driver 
named John Smith to be tied up and severely flogged 
without trial, for refusing to collect fuel for the garrison. 
It was not an uncommon circumstance for soldiers and 
burghers to make most taunting remarks to and of each 
other. Thus Sir Andries Stockenstrom's quarrel with 

l8 46] The Seventh Kaffir War, 27 

military officers did not tend to make him less popular with 
the colonists, though the governor was highly esteemed, and 
both Colonel Somerset and Colonel Johnstone were personally 
well liked. 

Sir Peregrine Maitland refused to ratify the convention 
with Kreli, and sent him word that the cattle driven from 
the colony into his territory must be restored as a preliminary 
to any negotiations for peace. This was something that the 
chief could not make up his mind to do, and so he continued 
to be regarded as an enemy. 

After the return of the expedition from his country it was 
impossible to keep a large force in the field, as the horses 
were dying of hunger and the men were suffering from 
scarcity of food, so the governor retired with the second 
division of the army to a camp at Waterloo Bay, and on 
the 16th of September issued a general order thanking the 
burghers for their services and allowing them to return to 
their homes. They dispersed at once, and made their way 
on foot, or as best they could, to their respective districts. 

Colonel Hare was broken down in health, so he was per- 
mitted to leave for England. Part of the first division of 
the army joined Sir Peregrine Maitland at Waterloo Bay, and 
the other part was placed under command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Johnstone, who was directed to occupy the posts at 
Lovedale and Fort Cox, and to patrol the country between 
Fort Cox and Fort Beaufort. 

The office of lieutenant-governor was left without an 
occupant until the arrival of Sir Henry Young, as related in a 
previous chapter. Sir Peregrine Maitland recommended that 
it should be abolished, as from the beginning of 1846 there 
were two posts weekly from Capetown to the frontier, so 
that it did not seem to him to be needed. 

A despatch announcing that Colonel Hare was promoted 
to be a major-general was on the way from England when 
he retired. He never saw it, for he died at sea four days 
after leaving South Africa. His body was taken to St. 
Helena and buried there. 

28 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

The force on the frontier remained paralysed for a time 
through want of food at a distance from Waterloo Bay and 
the absence of sufficient means of transport. The govern- 
ment had pressed all the waggons and oxen that could be 
found, and the consequence was that people were afraid to 
take provisions to the markets at Grahamstown or Fort 
Beaufort. The drought continued until September, and the 
commonest necessaries of life reached prices never known 
before. It was only by keeping the great mass of the troops 
on the coast that actual starvation was averted. 

So matters remained until October, when grass sprang 
up, making it possible to convey supplies overland. Deputy- 
Commissary-General Palmer, a very active and capable man, 
was then placed in charge of the transport service, and 
speedily put matters right. Light waggons with mules to 
draw them were brought by sea from Capetown to Port 
Elizabeth. The system of impressment was discontinued, 
and an offer of £2 a day was made for every bullock waggon 
and span of fourteen oxen fit for service. By these means a 
sufficient number of conveyances was obtained. 

On the 5th of October a disaster took place in the wreck 
of the barque Catherine at Waterloo Bay, and the loss of a 
full cargo of provisions with which she had just arrived. 

By this time the troops in the country were largely 
reinforced. When the war commenced, two battalions of 
the line which were intended to relieve regiments in South 
Africa were at Monte Video, and they were hurried on as 
soon as the intelligence reached that place. On the 30th of 
July the ship-of-war Resistance arrived in Simon's Bay with 
the second battalion of the 45th, five hundred and twenty- 
five officers and men, and on the 11th of August the ship-of- 
war Apollo brought to the same place the 73rd regiment, 
five hundred and thirty-eight all told. On the 26th of the 
same month the Cornwall arrived from Cork with ninety- 
seven recruits for regiments already here, so that over eleven 
hundred effective men were added to the army under Sir 
Peregrine Maitland. 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 29 

Further reinforcements were on the way out. On the 
29th of June 1846 Sir Robert Peel's ministry resigned, and 
a new cabinet was thereupon formed by Lord John Russell. 
In it Earl Grey was seeretarjT- of state for the colonies, 
succeeding Mr. Gladstone on the 7th of July. On the 3rd 
of August he wrote to Sir Peregrine Maitland that more 
troops would at once be sent out, and a number of half-pay 
officers — the lieutenant-colonels George Henry Mackinnon, 
George Green Nicholls, Edward H. D. E. Napier, and 
Auchmuty Montresor, and three majors — had been selected 
to proceed to the Cape for service in irregular forces. So 
little was known in England of the conditions of warfare 
in this country that these officers really believed they 
could be of service in organising burgher forces, and were 
half indignant when the governor — to whom they were a 
great embarrassment — got rid of them by giving them 
supernumerary appointments. 

On the 28th of October nine officers and two hundred 
and eighty-five rank and tile of the first battalion of the 
rifle brigade arrived in Table Bay in the barque Fairlie 
from Gibraltar. On the following day the ship Stebronheath 
arrived from Cork with thirteen officers and four hundred 
rank and file of the 6th. On the 5th of November the 
barque Westminster reached Table Bay from Cork with the 
remainder of the 6th, nine officers and two hundred and 
two rank and file. And on the same day the ship 
Equestrian arrived from Gibraltar with the remainder of 
the first battalion of the rifle brigade, ten officers and 
three hundred and twenty-eight rank and file. 

Since the first great raid little bands of Kaffirs had 
frequently entered the districts of Albany and Somerset, 
where they could conceal themselves in thickets and watch 
for opportunities to murder defenceless people and plunder 
and destroy anything that came in their way. Many 
colonists lost their lives by the hands of these marauders. 
On the 9th of August a patrol of nineteen Stellenbosch 
burghers was surrounded in a kloof in Albany, when five 

3<d History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

of them were killed : Pieter and Hermanus de Villiers, Jan 
Basson, Pieter Haushamer, and Daniel Russouw. One of 
the De Villiers could have escaped, bufc would not leave his 
wounded brother, and both perished together. The bodies 
were afterwards recovered, and were taken to Grahamstown 
for burial, the people of that place having requested Com- 
mandant Onkruydt to allow them to defray the expense of 
the funeral. There was no Dutch church in Grahamstown, 
but the reverend Dr. Roux had taken shelter there when 
the village of Riebeek East was abandoned. The reverend 
Mr. Heavyside offered the use of the English church, and 
the funeral proceeded from it, he and Dr. Roux conducting 
the service together. 

In different places in the frontier districts there were 
murdered between July and October Messrs. Gordon Nourse, 
Barend Vosloo, William Cumming, Carel van Heerden, Jabez 
Aldum, James Pankhurst, Williams, Shields, Wiggins, Milden- 
hall, Feckery, Gamble, and Smith, and almost as many 
Hottentots and other coloured servants. 

Several circumstances concurred at this time to make 
most of the chiefs profess a desire for peace. They had no 
hope of getting possession of any more cattle, for the 
country as far as they knew it had been nearly cleared of 
stock. The severe drought of the previous year had left 
them almost without corn, and in September heavy rains 
fell, so that they were desirous of getting hheir gardens in 

On the 21st of August Stokwe abandoned the contest, 
and surrendered to Colonel Somerset. The great majority of 
his clan, however, continued in the field, and though he 
promised to restore the colonists' cattle which were in 
charge of some of his followers beyond the Buffalo, he did 
not keep his word. Fifty muskets were given up by the 
men who surrendered with him. 

Makoma was the next to tender submission. He was 
suffering from a severe attack of dysentery, and it was with 
difficulty that he could move about. He sent a message in 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 31 

the name of the whole of the Gaika and Imidange chiefs, 
requesting to be informed whether hostilities might not 
cease. Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone was entrusted with the 
governor's reply. On the 30th of September this officer, 
accompanied by Major Smith, the reverend Henry Calder- 
wood, and the reverend Frederick Kayser, who acted as 
interpreter, met the chiefs Sandile, Makoma, Botumane, 
Tola, and a number of others of less note. The chiefs were 
attended by several thousand followers, nearly half of whom 
were armed with muskets. On the slope of a hill now 
called Sandile's Kop, about a mile from the present village 
of Alice, the conference took place. The conditions offered 
by the governor were that the Kaffirs must give up their 
guns, restore their booty, and accept locations wherever he 
should choose to place them. The chiefs were informed that 
he took possession of the country as far as the Kei for the 
queen of England, and that they would be located in it as 
British subjects. These conditions they rejected without 

In offering them, Sir Peregrine Maitland had in view a 
settlement in many respects similar to that of Sir Benjamin 
D'Urban. He intended to deprive the hostile clans of the 
fastnesses of the Amatola, but to leave them the remaining 
land east of the Tyumie and Keiskama rivers, where they 
were to be governed by British officers. The vacant land 
between the Fish and Kat rivers on one side and the 
Tyumie and Keiskama on the other was to be given to 
Hottentots, freed slaves, and other coloured people, who were 
to be placed under the care of a magistrate, and the Amatola 
fastnesses were to be allotted to Fingos. Already the reverend 
William Shaw, superintendent of the Wesleyan missions, was 
endeavouring under the governor's direction to obtain coloured 
people from the colony to form villages between the Tyumie 
and Kat rivers. 

The Tembu chief Umtirara had sent to request the 
governor to receive him as a British subject and to declare 
the land between the colonial boundary and the Indwe river 

32 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

British territory. This land he laid claim to as being to 
a large extent occupied by the emigrant Tembus, of whom 
he was nominally paramount chief, though he stated that 
he was to® weak to enforce order or to prevent Mapasa 
making war upon the colony. The Galekas, the Bacas, and 
the Pondos were his enemies, and he asserted that he would 
be ruined if the governor did not protect him. In the last 
days of August his people around Clarkebury had been 
plundered by the Pondos, and nearly the whole of them had 
been driven over the Indwe. He was then living west of 
that river, as far from his enemies as possible. 

His conduct was, however, exceedingly suspicious. He 
wanted British protection, but he was known to be secreting 
cattle driven from the colon} 7 . He did not offer an inch of 
territory to which he had any valid claim, but he proposed 
to secure a retreat and reserve his rights over all beyond. 
Early in November Mr. Joseph Read with the Hottentots 
of Stockenstrom attacked Mapasa, and took fifteen hundred 
head of cattle from him. Umtirara then, seeing Mapasa 
being gradually deprived of the immense spoil which he 
had secured, came down upon him, seized the remainder, 
and utterly ruined the emigrant Tembu chief for the 

With two of his counsellors Umtirara now proceeded to 
Blockdrift, and on the 3rd of December had an interview 
with the governor. The reverend J. C. Warner, Wesleyan 
missionary with the Tembus, acted as interpreter. Umtirara 
repeated his statement of fear of his enemies, and renewed 
his request for British protection. As an earnest of his 
sincerity he presented to the governor three hundred of the 
oxen driven from the colony and taken by him from 

Sir Peregrine Maitland could not promise the chief British 
protection without the consent of the imperial authorities, 
but he recommended the application to the secretary of 
state. His plan for the settlement of the frontier was then 
to place the territory between the colonial boundary on one 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 33 

side and the Indwe * and Kei rivers on the other under 
three British magistrates, one north of the Amatola range 
with the Tembus, one south of that range with the Gaikas, 
and one near the sea with the remaining Rarabe clans. 
To Umtirara he intended to leave a large amount of 
authority, but the chiefs of the emigrant Tembu and Rarabe 
clans were to be deposed, 

This was the plan of settlement which was being developed 
in the governor's mind when the negotiations were carried 
on with the Gaika chiefs in September. Those negotiations 
ended unsuccessfully, as has been related, and the clans 
near the coast had not even asked for terms. 

On the 16th of September operations were directed against 
the latter, and Colonel Somerset with part of the second 
division of the army commenced to scour the country 
between the Keiskama and Gonubie rivers. The weather 
was very inclement, so that the troops and levies were 
subject to much discomfort, but by the 4th of October 
from four to five thousand head of cattle were secured, 
principally from Umhala's people. 

The rains enabled the governor to put a strong force in 
the field again, but now the Xosas adopted a plan which 
completely baffled him. The men would not fight, they 
would not even run away. They simply sat down in front 
of approaching troops, knowing that they would not be 
fired at under such circumstances, and that a whole tribe 
could not be detained as prisoners. The women were every- 
where found busy making gardens, but as soon as an armed 
force appeared they thronged round it with their children 
begging for food. Patrols were sent out to scour the country 
for cattle, but found very few, as nearly all had been driven 
far away to the eastward. 

What was the governor to do ? He could not shoot un- 
resisting men, he could not maintain prisoners, he would not 

* Termed the White Kei in the official documents of the day, but from 
the charts attached to them and from later papers it is seen that the Indwe 
branch was intended. 


34 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

destroy the gardens upon which children depended for food. 
Makoma came in, and threw himself upon the compassion of 
the white people. What was the governor to do with him ? 
Sandile sent word that he also wished to surrender. How 
could his submission be rejected ? * 

There was at this time a great deal of sickness among 
the troops and burghers and dissatisfaction among the 
coloured levies, which partly paralysed the hands of the 
governor. The sickness was caused by the insufficiency and 
bad quality of the food, added to excessive fatigue and 
exposure to the boisterous weather after the rains set in. 
Men who slept out on the wet ground night after night and 
who marched alternately in wet and dry clothing all day, 
without proper warm food, were stricken with rheumatism, 
and a kind of low fever set in as well. The field hospitals, 
which were canvas tents, were filled with men in this con- 
dition, many of whom died. That the prevailing sickness 
was due to these causes alone, and that the climate deservedly 
retained its old reputation of being one of the healthiest 
in the world, was evident from the fact that wherever 
men were fairly well sheltered and had plenty of food there 
was little or no illness. The 90th regiment, which was the 
first to leave the frontier, was in this condition, and Mrs. 
Ward described it in these words : 

* It was supposed by many persons at the time that the Xosas were 
instigated to this line of conduct by the remaining members of 
the old " philanthropical " party, who were anxious to save them 
from further punishment. See Mrs. Ward's Five Years in Kaffir - 
land ; with Sketches of the late War in that Country to the Con- 
clusion of Peace : two demi octavo volumes, published in London 
in 1848. But this is an error. The leading " philanthropists " of 
1835-6 had either disappeared or had changed their opinions, and 
there was no one left who openly advocated the Kaffir cause 
as just. The Xosas were clever enough to devise such a scheme 
without prompting. I had exceptional opportunities of learning their 
views from men who had taken part in this war, and they all 
took credit to themselves for their astuteness and attributed the 
success of the scheme to the simplicity of the British authorities. 

1846] The Seventh Kaffir War. 35 

" The appearance of the 90th on leaving the Colony is 
so totally different to what it presented on its arrival here, 
that it goes far to prove the good effect of the Cape 
climate on constitutions debilitated by Indian service. 
Under every disadvantage of fatigue, privation, and a resi- 
dence under canvas during an African summer, the 90th, on 
their march from Grahamstown to the coast, presented a 
perfect picture of a regiment of British veterans. We saw 
them in our evening ride on the 5th of February, as they 
toiled up a steep hill before us with their long line of waggons 
and dusky waggon-drivers. How cheerful they looked ! " 

The dissatisfaction of the coloured levies arose partly 
from their being scantily fed and often severely worked, 
and partly from their families not being regularly pro- 
vided with rations during their absence from their homes. 
The maintenance of their women and children they ex- 
pected as a matter of course, but it had not been in the 
power of the government to provide for so many mouths. The 
men became sullen and insubordinate, and desertions were 
so frequent that there was danger of the entire body dwind- 
ling away. At length, on the 24th of October, the whole of 
the Hottentot levies from Swellendam, then stationed at 
Fort Beaufort, broke out into open mutiny. They assembled 
on the square, where they set their officers at defiance, 
and three hundred and fifty of them, declaring they would 
remain in the field no longer, set off towards Grahamstown 
with their muskets in their hands. They were pursued by a 
few artillerymen with a fieldpiece, and some blank shots 
were fired to terrify them, but" without any effect. The 
reverend Messrs. Calderwood and Beaver, who were well 
known to the mutineers and who had shown much interest in 
their welfare, then rode after them, and succeeded in inducing 
most of them to return to their duty. 

They went back sullen, however, and from discontented 
men good service could not be expected. The whole of their 
fellows were in the same state, and as these levies were 
needed for various kinds of work that could not be performed 

36 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

by regular soldiers, the entire force was affected by their 
conduct. In this condition of things Sir Peregrine Maitland 
was naturally anxious to conclude peace with the Xosas and 
Tembus, and was ready to agree to terms that he would not 
have consented to if his hands had been stronger. 

The governor took as his chief adviser the reverend 
Henry Calderwood, a missionary of the London society, who 
had resided before the war at a station named Birklands, at 
no great distance from Fort Beaufort. Mr. Calderwood was 
an able man, but on this occasion his judgment was at fault. 
He persuaded the governor to modify the plan of settlement, 
by leaving the Gaikas in the fastnesses of the Amatola, a 
measure he afterwards greatly regretted. These clans were 
deprived, however, of the part of the upper Tyumie valley 
west of the Tyumie river, that stream and the Keiskama 
being now declared the western boundary of the Kaffir 
country. From this boundary to the Kei the territory was 
named British Kaffirland. 

To Makoma and his family an outbuilding at Lovedale 
was assigned, where the chief remained more as a guest 
than as a prisoner, though his treatment of his wives and 
attendants was so violent that it was considered necessary 
to deprive him of weapons, and upon one occasion even to 
place him in confinement for a short period. Mr. Calderwood 
was appointed commissioner for the settlement of the Gaika, 
Imidange, and Tinde clans, and was directed to receive the 
submission of all who would surrender their arms. Mr. 
Charles Brownlee was selected as his clerk. The people who 
submitted were to have ground allotted to them anywhere 
east of the Tyumie and the Keiskama. 

The commissioner established himself at Blockdrift, in 
the premises once occupied by Mr. C. L. Stretch, the 
diplomatic agent. The appointments held before the war 
by Mr. Stretch with the Gaikas and Mr. Henry Fynn 
with the emigrant Tembus, as well as that of agent -general 
and frontier commissioner, held by Major Smith, were 

1846J The Seventh Kaffir War. 


On the 3rd of November the governor granted to Sandile 
a truce of fourteen days, and offered him permanent peace if 
he would restore twenty thousand head of cattle and give 
up his arms. Sandile professed to agree to these terms, and 
on the day after the truce expired made his appearance at 
Blockdrift with from two to three hundred horses and about 
the same number of horned cattle, which he handed over. 
He also brought in the axestealer Klein tje and a man who 
he said was the murderer of the Hottentot on the 16th of 
March, but who died in prison before an examination could 
be held. A place of residence was then pointed out to the 
chief by Mr. Calderwood. After this every Kaffir who chose 
to surrender a musket or six assagais was registered as a 
British subject, and was permitted to settle down quietly. 
Between two and three hundred muskets were given up, but 
the best weapons were concealed. An announcement was 
made that all guns and all cattle taken from the colony 
would be seized wherever found, but the Kaffirs were not 
alarmed by it, as their only object was to gain time. 

Captain John Maclean was appointed commissioner for 
the settlement of the clans near the sea. These were more 
tardy than the Gaikas in falling into the arrangement, but 
in November Colonel Somerset attacked thern on the 
Tshalumna, and took from them between sixteen and 
seventeen hundred head of cattle, after which their registra- 
tion proceeded more rapidly. By the beginning of December 
only Pato, Kobe, and Toyise were left west of the Kei in 
open warfare with the colony. Their following, however, 
was greatly increased by warriors from the other clans, and 
thus the Karabes at a trifling cost obtained what they 
desired, a truce to enable them to plant extensively and at 
the same time a party at war to enable them to keep the 
troops occupied, and to plunder if an opportunity offered. 

No one disputed the integrity of the governor or his 
desire to protect the colony, but those who were best 
acquainted with the Kaffirs knew that their submission was 
only feigned. The registration was of no value whatever. 

38 History of the Cape Colony. [1846 

As soon as a few individuals were received as British 
subjects and settled at any place, their friends joined them 
without reporting to the commissioners, and kraals that 
should have contained only fifty men often contained four 
or five hundred. The demeanour of these people towards 
Europeans was sullen, and cattle in their possession could 
not be inspected except by a large armed force. 

The governor was not aware of the extent of the fraud 
that was being practised. The discomfort of living in the 
field and above all the anxiety and worry to which he was 
subject were very trying to one of his advanced age, and 
therefore those about him concealed a great deal that it 
would have been unpleasant for him to know. His bodily 
strength was failing and his memory was defective, though 
otherwise his mental faculties were clear and strong. 

As Pato with his associates was known to be somewhere 
between the lower Gonubie and the Kei, a strong force of 
burghers, soldiers, and coloured levies was made ready to 
proceed eastward and, as was hoped, bring the war to an 
end. The burghers, who had recently been called to take 
up arms again, were placed under command of Captain 
Sutton, of the Cape mounted rifles. The levies were under 
Captain Hogg, of the 7th dragoons. The governor accom- 
panied the expedition, and next to him in authority was 
Colonel Somerset. The plan was to surround and crush 
Pato, to demand fifteen thousand head of cattle from Kreli 
under penalty of attack, and to rescue about three thousand 
Fingos who were at Butterworth. 

On the 27th of December the whole force was assembled 
at the site of Fort Warden, where a camp was formed. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Van der Meulen, of the 73rd regiment, 
with six hundred men then marched towards the nearest 
ford of the Kei as a feint to deceive the Kaffirs, whose 
scouts were carefully watching the movements. During the 
night Captain George Napier, of the Cape mounted rifles, 
with a division of equal strength crossed the river at a ford 
nine miles farther down, and Colonel Somerset left with the 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 39 

cavalry to sweep round by the Gonubie to the sea. On the 
30th these divisions returned with droves of cattle, but Pato, 
though seen, managed to escape. 

On the 1st of January 1847 the whole force proceeded to 
Butterworth. Kreli having declined to comply with the 
demand made upon him, Colonel Somerset proceeded towards 
the coast, and in the Manubi forest, about eighteen miles 
east of the mouth of the Kei, as well as along the river 
Kogha (correct Kaffir spelling Qora), succeeded in securing a 
considerable number of cattle. A patrol along the Tsomo 
also met with some success. 

A few days later the army returned to King-Williamstown 
with ten thousand head of cattle. The Fingos were brought 
from Butterworth, and were located in the valley of the 
Gaga and in the neighbourhood of the abandoned post 
Victoria, west of the Tyumie. The loss during the move- 
ment across the Kei was seventeen men, among whom were 
three officers, Captain Gibson, of the rifle brigade, Dr. 
Howell, of the same regiment, and Lieutenant Chetwynd, of 
the 73rd. They were galloping in advance of a patrol, and 
with two Hottentot soldiers were surrounded on the border 
of a thicket and were killed. The bodies, frightfully 
mutilated, were recovered on the following day. 

On the 6th of January, at Butterworth, Sir Peregrine 
Maitland received a despatch from Earl Grey, dated the 16th 
of September, announcing that Sir Henry Pottinger had been 
appointed to succeed him as governor, and as that officer 
did not hold a commission in the national army, Lieutenant- 
General Sir George Frederick Berkeley had been selected 
as commander of the forces. No fault was found with any 
of his measures, the only reason assigned for his removal 
being his advanced age. He had just been promoted to the 
rank of general. 

On the following morning the governor directed Colonel 
Somerset to assume command of the forces until the arrival 
of Sir George Berkeley, and immediately afterwards left for 
Capetown to meet his successor. . On the 13th of January, 

40 History of the Cape Colony. [1847 

as he passed through Grahamstown, he issued a proclamation 
abolishing martial law in the colony, as he believed the war 
was practically over. Embarking in Algoa Bay in the 
steamer Thunderbolt ' y he reached Simonstown on the 19th. 

On the 27th of January 1847 Sir Henry Pottinger and 
Sir George Berkeley arrived in Table Bay in the Peninsular 
and Oriental Company's steamship Haddington, which left 
Southampton on the 5th of December. The same afternoon 
the new governor took the oaths of office. 

Sir Peregrine Maitland with his family sailed in the ship 
Wellesley on the 23rd of February. From the date of his 
reaching England he lived in retirement, though enjoying 
the esteem of the imperial government and of every one 
who knew anything of him. He died in London on 
the 30th of May 1854, in the seventy-seventh year of his 








Sir Henry Pottinger was an officer of distinction in the 
service of the East India Company. He was born in 1789 
at Mount Pottinger, in the county of Down, Ireland, and 
entered the Company's navy when only fourteen years of 
age. Shortly afterwards he exchanged into the Indian army, 
and though he never saw much military service he attained 
in it the honorary rank of major-general. In 1809 he first 
showed his ability as a diplomatist, when accompanying a 
mission to Scinde. The two following years were spent in 
company with Captain Christie in exploring the country 
between India and Persia, of which very little was 
previously known. Of this expedition he published an 
account. In the Mahratta war of 1816 and 1817 he was 
political assistant to Mr. Elphinstone, and was afterwards 
for some years superintendent of part of the conquered 
country. In 1831 he was sent to Scinde, and negotiated 
a treaty that opened the navigation of the Indus. In 1838 
he was again sent to Scinde, and was so successful in his 
mission that he was rewarded by being made a baronet. 
In 1841 he went to China as the queen's plenipotentiary, 


> > 

42 History of the Cape Colony. t l8 47 

and brought the war with that country to a conclusion by 
negotiating terms of peace that were regarded as alike 
honourable and advantageous. For this service a pension 
of £1,500 a year was voted to him by the house of commons 
without a dissentient voice. He was married in 1820 to 
Miss Cooke, of Dublin, and had two sons and a daughter 
living ; but his family did not accompany him to South 

In addition to being governor, Sir Henry Pottinger was 
appointed " high commissioner for the settling and adjust- 
ment of the affairs of the territories in Southern Africa 
adjacent or contiguous to the eastern and north-eastern 
frontier of the colony," in order that he might make some 
arrangement with the hostile tribes that would bring the 
war to a close and tend thereafter to preserve peace. In 
this capacity Mr. Richard Woosnam was appointed his 

The mode of settlement was left largely for him to 
devise, but he was informed of Earl Grey's views, which 
show that the minister could have known very little of 
South African affairs. The Kaffirs west of the Keiskama, 
he thought, should be required to acknowledge the queen 
as their protector and to receive a British officer as the 
commander-in-chief of all their forces. The authority of the 
chiefs should be maintained, but in civil as well as in 
military matters they should be subject, tc the European 
commander. Kaffir troops under European officers should 
be raised and sent to the western districts of the colony, 
where they would be hostages for the good conduct of their 
kindred and friends. 

Sir Henry Pottinger's stay at the seat of government was 
short. Leaving Capetown on the 10th of February, he 
reached Grahamstown on the 28th, and at once instituted 
an inquiry into the condition of matters. Pato, Kobe, and 
Toyise were still openly at war, and had full possession of 
the country between the lower Buffalo and the Kei. Kreli 
had not surrendered the cattle demanded of him. The other 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 43 

chiefs professed submission, but it was apparent that few of 
them were in earnest. Bands of marauders were prowling 
about the districts of Albany and Somerset, where most of 
the farmers were still in lager or in the villages. 

Sir Peregrine Maitland, believing that the war was nearly 
over, had abolished martial law, permitted most of the 
burghers and levies to return to their homes, and sent the 
90th regiment to Port Elizabeth in order that it might 
embark for England. To make up for this loss of force he 
had done nothicg more than order a hundred Kaffirs to be 
enrolled as policemen and stationed close to Mr. Calderwood's 
office, at a place to which the name Alice was then given in 
honour of the second daughter of the queen. The ground 
thereabouts had been granted provisionally by Sir Benjamin 
D'Urban at the close of the preceding war to Mr. Andrew 
Geddes Bain, as a recompense for special services ; but was 
restored to the Kaffirs under the Stockenstrom treaties. Mr. 
Stretch, the late diplomatic agent, now laid claim to it as 
having been given to him by the Gaika chiefs. The 
governor, however, refused to admit his claim as valid; but 
allowed him to retain the house which he had built — which 
is still standing and now belongs to the Lovedale institution, 
— and granted him title deeds to forty acres of land about 
it. On the 20th of January 1847 Lieutenant David 
Davies, late of the 90th regiment, was appointed super- 
intendent of the Kaffir police then being raised, and became 
the first European resident in Alice. 

The new governor countermanded the order for the 
90th to embark, made great efforts to collect a large body 
of Hottentots, and appealed to the colonists to furnish 
seven or eight hundred volunteers to meet at Fort Peddie 
on the 18th of March, promising not to detain them longer 
than a month. 

Lieutenant Charles Forsyth, of the royal navy, was sent 
to inspect the mouth of the Buffalo river and report upon it, 
as Sir George Berkeley desired to form a chain of posts 
along that stream. 

44 History of the Cape Colony, [1847 

As the Kaffirs in open hostility were known to be well 
supplied with ammunition, which Sir Henry Pottinger was 
convinced they obtained from those who were registered and 
who procured it from secret traders so lost to honour and 
integrity as to imperil the lives and property of their 
countrymen for the sake of gain, on the 31st of March 
he issued a proclamation forbidding traffic of every kind 
with any of the people then or recently in arms against the 
colony. Persons caught trading with them were to be 
considered and treated as being in treasonable intercourse 
with the enemy, for which they could be tried by 
court-martial and shot if found guilty. 

The number of burghers who assembled at Fort Peddie 
was not so great as the governor desired, but with them and 
the Cape mounted rifles Colonel Somerset undertook to drive 
the adherents of Pato from the country between the lower 
Keiskama and Buffalo rivers, to which they had returned. 
A few recently stolen cattle were recovered, but the enemy 
was not met with in force. There was abundant proof, 
however, that the Kaffirs were in occupation in large 
numbers, and that every movement of Colonel Somerset's 
party was closely watched. On the 3rd of April a small 
patrol was surprised near the mouth of the Buffalo, and two 
burghers from Albany — Blakemore and Pester by name — 
were killed. Seeing that nothing was likely to result from 
the movement, on the 11th of April the burghers disbanded 
without authority, claiming that they had left their homes 
early in March on condition of not being detained longer 
than a month. 

The troops in the colony at this time mustered in all five 
thousand four hundred and seventy rank and file, and Sir 
George Berkeley was authorised to add four hundred men to 
the Cape mounted rifles. Captain Hogg was busy raising a 
large irregular force of Hottentots. The governor increased 
the Kaffir police under Lieutenant Davies to two hundred 
men, with four junior officers, ten sergeants, and eight 
corporals, one-fourth of the whole being mounted. He also 

1 84 7 J The Seventh Kaffir War. 45 

issued instructions that if any transports with soldiers on 
board should put into Table Bay or Simon's Bay on the way 
to England, half a regiment should be detained and kept at 
Capetown as a reserve. On the 22nd of May the Hindostan 
arrived in Table Bay from Calcutta, bound to London, with 
one hundred and twenty-nine men of the 62nd regiment 
returning home. They were quartered in the barracks, and 
on the 2nd of July their number was made up to four 
companies from another detachment of the same regiment 
which arrived from Calcutta in the ship Duke of Wellington. 
These soldiers were never sent to the frontier, but remained 
as a reserve in Capetown until the close of the war. 

The report of Lieutenant Forsyth being favourable, a 
strong body of troops was now moved to the line of the 
Buffalo. On the western side of the mouth of that stream 
a wing of the 73rd regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Van 
der Meulen was stationed, and a fort — afterwards named 
Glamorgan — was built. Eleven miles higher up Colonel 
Somerset formed a camp. Six miles beyond was a smaller 
camp under Lieutenant Need, of the rifle brigade, whose 
name the site still bears. Another post was at Fort Murray, 
which was rebuilt, and the largest of all was King- Williams- 
town, where Lieutenant-Colonel Buller, of the rifle brigade, 
was in command. 

On the 28th of April the barque Frederick Huth arrived 
at the mouth of the Buffalo with stores, which were landed 
without accident, and thereafter that port was used to 
supply the troops at the advanced posts. It was found to 
afford greater facilities than .Waterloo Bay for conveying 
goods from ships to the shore. Once within the bar boats 
were perfectly sheltered. Still there was soon proof that 
the roadstead was dangerous, for on the 17th of October a 
surfboat was overturned, when seven men were drowned, 
and a few hours later the schooner Ghika was driven ashore 
and the twelve men on board were all lost. The Thunderbolt, 
the first steam ship-of-war on the station, unfortunately 
struck on Cape Recife on the 3rd of February, and was so 

46 History of the Cape Colony. t l8 47 

much damaged that it was necessary to run her on the 
beach below Port Elizabeth, where she became a total wreck. 
But she was quickly replaced by the Rosamond, so that 
communication between Table Bay and the mouth of the 
Buffalo was tolerably certain and rapid. 

As soon as his crops were gathered, Sandile assumed an 
attitude which plainly indicated that he was ready to resume 
hostilities. He was again regarded by the British authorities 
as the principal chief of the Gaikas, for Sir Henry Pottinger's 
views were in some important respects different from those 
of Sir Peregrine Maitland. Each determined to extend the 
colonial boundary to the Keiskama and Tyumie rivers, and 
to place the territory between those streams and the Kei 
under the sovereignty of the queen of England as a depen- 
dency to be occupied almost exclusively by Bantu and to be 
termed British Kafnrland. Here, however, their agreement 

Sir Peregrine Maitland proposed to fill the land between 
the Keiskama and the old border with coloured people 
only, who should be drawn from the colony and therefore 
accustomed to colonial law. Sir Henry Pottinger believed 
that this would be nothing else than making a great settle- 
ment like that at Stockenstrom, a home of an idle and 
unprogressive people, who on the least disaster would be 
thrown upon the government for support. He therefore 
intended to mix Europeans, colonial blacks, and Fingos upon 
the ground. 

Sir Peregrine Maitland proposed to include in British 
Kaffirland the whole territory west of the Indwe, if not of 
the Tsomo, as claimed by the Tembu chief Umtirara, who 
asked for British protection. Sir Henry Pottinger was 
undecided as to this, and under any circumstances objected 
to Umtirara's claim, which was disputed and rested on no 
solid right. A large portion of the territory was thinly 
occupied by some Hottentots, Fingos, and other coloured 
people from the colony, who had moved into it some years 
before under the leadership of Mr. Joseph Read, son of the 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 47 

missionary at the Kat river. To give a show of right to 
their occupation, these people set up as a chief a Bushman 
named Madoor, one of ten or twelve of that race still in 
existence there, and called themselves Bushmen and his 
subjects. Their claim was quite as good as Umtirara's, and 
they had certainly sided with the colony during the war, 
whereas his professions of friendship were not to be depended 
upon. Kreli also claimed a large part of the territory, and 
beyond all dispute his right was equal to that of Umtirara. 

A still greater difference in the views of the two governors 
was as to the manner in which the people in British Kaffir- 
land should be ruled. Sir Peregrine Maitland would not 
recognise chieftainship at all, except in the person of 
Umtirara; Sir Henry Pottinger regarded the chiefs as heads 
of the clans, and intended to govern the people through them. 
The one would make European officers the sole executive 
and judicial authorities, the other would make them the 
guides and controllers of the chiefs. No proclamation had 
yet been issued extending British authority over the territory 
east of the Keiskama, but all the registered Kaffirs — Sandile 
among the number — had agreed to become British subjects, 
and were so regarded. While Sir Peregrine Maitland 
remained governor Sandile was treated by the officials as 
an ordinary Kaffir, but when Sir Henry Pottinger assumed 
the direction of affairs the chief was informed that he would 
be held responsible for the good conduct of his people, 
though he would not be allowed to punish on charges of 
witchcraft, and also that certain vile and obscene practices 
were prohibited. He was then in possession of his old 
kraals in and along the Amatola fastnesses. Under either 
system the chief was regarded by his people as their head, 
whose orders and wishes they were bound to obey even to 

This was the state of matters when early in June fourteen 
goats were stolen from the Kat river and traced to one of 
Sandile's kraals. Mr. Calderwood, the Gaika commissioner, 
thereupon required of the chief the restitution of the stolen 

48 History of the Cape Colony. [1847 

property, a fine of three head of cattle, and the surrender of 
the thief. Sandile confiscated the property of the thief and 
his friends, but complied with the demand only to the extent 
of restoring twelve of the goats. 

The governor then resolved to have the chief arrested, 
or, failing that, to seize his cattle and so bring him to terms. 
For this purpose Lieutenant Davies was despatched with 
two officers and seventy-four men of the Kaffir police, assisted 
by a hundred men of the 45th regiment, fifty dragoons, 
fifteen Cape mounted riflemen, and twenty Fingos, under 
Captain Moultrie of the 45th. On reaching Sandile's kraal 
near Burnshill it was found that the chief had fled, so two 
horses and thirty-nine head of cattle were taken possession 
of. The police moved towards a hill close by, upon which 
some Kaffirs were seen, when eight hundred or a thousand 
well armed men made their appearance, among whom 
Sandile himself was recognised. Other bodies of Kaffirs 
were fast assembling, so that the patrol considered it 
necessary to retreat. The Kaffirs followed nearly to 
Blockdrift, firing from a distance, by which two men of the 
patrol were killed and four were wounded. 

After some days Sandile sent twenty-one head of cattle 
to Mr. Calderwood as a peace offering, but the governor 
decided that matters could only be settled by the chief's 
absolute submission or by war. 

The season was favourable for military operations, as the 
country was covered with abundance of grass. Large 
quantities of stores of all kinds were sent to the front, the 
troops were arranged in the best manner to prevent an 
invasion of the colony, the cattle near the border were 
driven westward to be out of reach of a raid by Kaffirs, 
and then the governor directed Mr. Calderwood to demand 
from Sandile two hundred guns and the surrender of the 
thief who stole the goats. 

On the 18th of August Mr. Alexander McDiarmid and 
two of the Kaffir police were sent to Sandile to make this 
demand. Mr. McDiarmid, who was one of the missionaries 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 49 

of the Glasgow society, was selected for this duty because 
he had been in that part of the country ever since the birth 
of the chief, and was not only intimately acquainted with 
him, but was deeply interested in his welfare. Sandile was 
not at his kraal when the messengers arrived. The 
governor's demand was therefore clearly explained to his 
mother Sutu and his brother Anta, coupled with Mr. 
McDiarmid's earnest advice that he should comply with it. 

As was anticipated, Sandile treated the message with 
disdain, so on the 27th of August 1847 Sir Henry Pottinger 
proclaimed him a rebel, and called out the burghers to aid 
in attacking him. offering them all the cattle they could seize 
in his district. Yery few burghers, however, responded to 
this call. They regarded an attack upon Sandile under the 
circumstances as perfectly useless, because other chiefs who 
had registered themselves as British subjects would profess 
to be neutral, but would really take care of his cattle and 
give him all the help in their power. They also looked 
upon the Kaffir police as in reality spies, so that no warfare 
could be successful while this force was employed. 

Another, though minor, cause of the burghers declining 
to take the field was the excitement that just then prevailed 
throughout the colony with regard to an action brought by 
the waggon driver Smith against Lieutenant-Colonel Lindsay 
for causing him to be flogged, as already related. The 
colonists believed that upon the issue of this case their 
safety from outrage depended. It came first before the 
circuit court at Grahamstown on the 5th of April, was then 
transferred to the supreme court in Capetown, and was 
finally decided by the circuit court at Uitenhage on the 28th 
of September 1847. In the criminal charge for assault the 
judge summed up in favour of the accused, on the ground 
that under martial law he was justified in acting as he did, 
and further that legal proceedings against him were pre- 
vented by an ordinance recently enacted, for indemnifying 
all persons for acts performed in furtherance of military 
duty during the war. The jury, however, brought in a 


50 History of the Cape Colony. L1847 

verdict of guilty, but no punishment followed, as Colonel 
Lindsay was merely bound over under a penalty of £50 to 
appear when summoned to have sentence passed upon him. 
A civil action for £1,000 damages was dismissed by the 
judge with costs against Smith. 

Another case of a similar nature brought against Lieu- 
tenant Bethune of the 91st was then withdrawn. 

Owing to these causes only about two hundred burghers 
mustered upon the governor's call, and with them, the 
Hottentot levies under Captain Hogg and Captain Sutton, 
a band of Fingos, and as many regular soldiers as could 
be drawn from the forts and lines of defence, Sir George 
Berkeley commenced operations against Sandile. His plan 
was to have three depots of supply along the line of the 
Amatola, from which patrols in light marching order, carry- 
ing with them a week's provisions, could harass Sandile's 
adherents and allow them no rest. 

The first of these depots was on the eastern bank of the 
Tyumie, where an enclosure of earthen banks and palisades 
had been made by Sir Peregrine Maitland's order, and 
named by him Fort Hare. The troops previously quartered 
in tents and in the Lovedale mission buildings on the 
opposite side of the river were now moved into wattle and 
daub buildings within the enclosure, and a large quantity of 
provisions and munitions of war was stored there. Between 
this station and Waterloo Bay there was a good road. 

The second of the depots was on the Debe river, at Fort 
White, which had been rebuilt in the same style as Fort 
Hare. Being the centre of the line, Sir George Berkeley 
made this post his headquarters for the time being. 

The third, or the one on the extreme left of the line of 
operations, was at King-Williamstown, which was within 
reach of the mouth of the Buffalo for supplies. 

On the other side of the Amatola range a dep6t of 
supplies was formed at Shiloh, on the Klipplaats river. 
Captain Sutton, who was in command of a large irregular 
force, principally of Hottentots, was directed to make this 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 51 

station his base, and to prevent the enemy's escape over the 
Bontebok flats. 

Mr. Calderwood now moved the people under Kona, 
Botumane, Xoxo, and Stokwe into the Tyumie basin and 
the valley of the Gaga, to be out of the way while operations 
were being conducted against Sandile. Kona was the eldest 
son of Makoma, and was then the head of his father's clan, 
as Sir Henry Pottinger had sent the elder chief with his 
own consent to Port Elizabeth. Makoma took with him 
nine men, twenty-six women, and fifty-two children, as his 
family and attendants, all of whom were maintained by the 
government. Xoxo was acting as regent of the people of 
the late chief Tyali, during the minority of Oba and Fini. 

Anta joined his brother Sandile. The remaining chiefs, 
Umhala, Siwani, Siyolo, Toyise, Sonto, Tola, Jan Tshatshu, 
and Tabayi the son of Umkayi, were allowed to remain on 
the locations where they were placed when they were 
registered, as the ground they were occupying was out of 
the field of hostilities. 

On the 19th of September three patrols in light marching 
order left the respective depots of supply, and at daylight on 
the following morning entered the Amatola fastnesses at 
different points. They consisted in all of about two thousand 
men, and were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Somerset, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Buller, of the rifle brigade, and Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Campbell, of the second battalion of the 91st. 
At the same time Sir George Berkeley sent out parties of 
cavalry from Fort White to scour the open country along 
the line of operations. Very few men and still fewer cattle 
were seen. Sandile and Anta with many of their warriors 
were there, but lay concealed among the crags and thickets, 
and were not discovered. The remainder of their followers 
were dispersed among the registered Kaffirs, and were 
carefully tending the cattle on ground beyond the defined 
area of hostilities. 

When this was subsequently discovered, the registered 
Kaffirs first claimed the cattle on the plea of having acted 

52 History of the Cape Colony. [^47 

as allies of the British forces in taking them from the 
hostile chiefs ; and when this failed, they made a great deal 
of their pretended adherence to engagements by giving up 
some of the least valuable animals. 

All that the forces could accomplish in the Amatola was 
to destroy the huts and prevent the Kaffirs from settling 
anywhere, but as the system of patrolling was continued 
without intermission Sandile and Anta soon grew weary of 
it. In less than a month Sandile sent messengers to King- 
Williamstown to say that he was starving and was ready to 
give himself up on a guarantee that his life would be 
spared. This assurance being sent, on the 19fch of October 
he and Anta with their counsellors and eighty followers 
surrendered to Lieutenant-Colonel Buller, who was then 
patrolling in Keiskama Hoek. Sandile stated that he had 
been hiding among the crags on the Wolf river, and that 
on one occasion he narrowly missed being discovered by a 
rifleman. He recognised an officer who on another occasion 
was so near that he could distinguish his features. 

Sandile, Anta, and twelve of the principal counsellors 
were committed to the charge of an escort under Captain 
Bisset of the Cape mounted rifles. On the 24th of October 
they arrived at Grahamstown, where they were placed in 
detention as prisoners of war. 

Sir George Berkeley then moved forward to the Kei to 
carry out a similar plan against Kreli and Pato. He formed 
a camp at the Komgha, and then directed Colonel Somerset 
to search for Pato, who was known to be in that neighbour- 
hood. By the governor's order Captain Maclean had recently 
sent a message to that chief, offering peace if he would 
tender submission and give up five thousand head of cattle ; 
but he declined the terms. On the 30th of October Colonel 
Somerset found his adherents in possession of a mountain 
well adapted for defence, but drove them from it without 
much difficulty. 

On the 13th of November five officers — Captain William 
Leinster York Baker, Lieutenant Clarevaulx Faunt, Ensign 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 53 

William Burnop, and Surgeon Neil Stewart Campbell, all of 
the 73rd regiment, and Assistant-Surgeon R. J. Loch, of the 
7th dragoon guards — lost their lives near the camp at the 
Komgha. For the purpose of inspecting the country they 
had ridden to the top of a hill which commanded a very 
extensive view, and were there cut off by a party of Galekas 
of the clan under Buku, Kreli's uncle. For some time it 
was not known at the camp what had become of them, but 
on the following day their spoor was followed, when the 
mangled bodies were found. Their remains were interred 
at the Komgha, but were afterwards removed, and now lie 
within the walls of Trinity church, King-Williamstown. 

For several weeks movements were constantly made up 
and down both banks of the Kei, in which three or four 
thousand head of cattle were captured, and which allowed 
Pato and his followers no repose, though they managed to 
avoid meeting the troops. Some of their cattle were sent 
into Umhala's location and were sheltered there, but the 
best of the herds which they had driven from the colony 
were in the valley of the Bashee. There the Galekas were 
determined to keep them, and Pato found not only that he 
could get no aid from Kreli, but that he would be prevented 
by that chief from escaping eastward. There was every 
indication indeed that Kreli was ready to make his peace 
with the governor by seizing and surrendering the Gunukwebe 
captain. Under these circumstances, and being constantly 
harassed and without a place of even temporary refuge, on 
the 19th of December he sent two messengers to Colonel 
Somerset to ask if his life would be spared in case he 
surrendered. On being assured that it would, a few hours 
afterwards he and his attendants laid down their guns and 
became prisoners of war. No chief was then left west of 
the Kei who had not given in his submission. 

A notification from Sir Henry Pottinger had been sent to 
Kreli offering peace on condition of his acknowledging the 
Kei as the boundary of his territory, promising to conduct 
himself thereafter as a friend, and surrendering ten thousand 

54' History of the Cape Colony. [1847 

head of cattle; but the chief could not make up his mind 
to the last of these conditions. 

Just at this time the connection of Sir Henry Pottinger 
and Sir George Berkeley with South Africa ceased, and a 
new governor, who possessed the entire confidence of the 
colonists, arrived in the country. This was no other than 
Sir Harry Smith, who as Colonel Smith had been the head 
of the province of Queen Adelaide under Sir Benjamin 

From Lord Glenelg this officer had received scanty 
justice. He was accused by that minister of having acted 
in a barbarous manner in the war of 1835, and when his 
innocence was proved Lord Glenelg declined to make any 
other amends than withdrawing the statement. It was in 
vain that Sir George Napier recommended the appointment 
of Colonel Smith as an extra aide-de-camp to the queen, in 
order to prove that all erroneous impressions concerning him 
had been removed, and to silence calumny. No man could 
have been better acquainted with Colonel Smith's humane 
disposition than Sir George Napier, for when he wrote that 
despatch — 26th of January 1838 — they had been friends for 
thirty-three years, and they had bled together under Sir 
John Moore and the duke of Wellington. 

Whether owing to Lord Glenelg's influence or not it is 
impossible to say, but Colonel Smith only received promotion 
after the fall of that minister. He was then appointed 
adjutant-general of the army in India, and after a residence 
of over eleven years in South Africa, in June 1840 he left 
to fill that office. A few years later an opportunity to dis- 
tinguish himself occurred, and on the 28th of January 1846 
the division under his command won the memorable victory 
of Aliwal over the Sikhs. 

Upon the conclusion of the Sikh war Colonel — then Sir 
Harry — Smith returned to England, where he was received 
by the government and the people with the warmest 
applause. Honours were conferred upon him, addresses to 
the hero of Aliwal were presented at every town he 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 55 

passed through, and no long time elapsed before he was 
appointed governor of the Cape Colony, high commissioner, 
and commander-in-chief of the forces. 

On the 1st of December 1847 the new governor and 
his lady arrived in Table Bay in the East India Company's 
ship Vernon. The first intelligence that he received was of 
the death of the five officers near the Komgha. As the 
Vernon in the early morning was standing in she came abreast 
of a flagstaff at Seapoint, in the grounds of Mr. Henry 
Solomon. In answer to the signal " What is the latest 
news ? " Mr. Solomon gave information of that disaster. 

A few hours later Sir Harry Smith and his lady landed 
on the north jetty, at the foot of Bree-street, where the 
whole townspeople were assembled to meet him. Never had 
any one been received with such acclamations of welcome. 
Amidst the most hearty cheering, mingled with the roaring 
of cannon from the Imhof battery, the governor passed 
through the streets, at every moment recognising and saluting 
old acquaintances, and remarking upon alterations made 
during the time he had been away. Immediately after his 
arrival at government house he took the oaths of office. 
That night the town was brilliantly illuminated, and the 
windows in a solitary house that was unlit were completely 
wrecked by the populace. 

On the 11th of December Sir Harry Smith embarked at 
Simon's Bay in the Rosamond, and landing at Algoa Bay, 
reached Grahamstown on the 17th. Everywhere his recep- 
tion was as warm as it had been in Capetown, for every 
one in the colony, whether English or Dutch, recognised in 
the brave and dashing, but generous and unselfish soldier, 
the broadminded liberal statesman, whose knowledge of 
frontier affairs would enable him to adjust matters there in 
the way best adapted to benefit them and the Kaffirs alike. 

On the 16th of December he had an interview with Sir 
Henry Pottinger at Lieutenant Daniell's farm Sidbury Park. 
The late governor had remained on the frontier purposely to 
meet him and give him all the information possible. 

56 History of the Cape Colony. t l8 47 

As soon as the meeting was over Sir Henry Pottinger 
hastened to Capetown to embark for Madras, of which 
presidency he had been appointed governor. He left without 
the esteem of a single colonist, though every one acknow- 
ledged him to be a man of rare ability and great industry. 
No other governor of the colony ever lived in such open 
licentiousness as he. His amours would have been inexcus- 
able in a young man, in one approaching his sixtieth year 
they were scandalous. In other respects a cold, sneering, 
unsympathetic demeanour prevented men of virtue from being 
attracted to him. He was much better adapted for office in 
India than in South Africa. He remained in Madras until 
1854, when he returned to Europe, but dreaded living in 
England during the winter months. He died at Malta on 
the 18th of March 1856. 

Sir George Berkeley accompanied Sir Henry Pottinger to 
Madras as commander of the forces. He had left Colonel 
Somerset with the army on the Kei, and waited in 
Grahamstown to transfer his duties. This was effected on 
the morning of the 17th of December, when Sir Harry 
Smith took command of the troops. 

The two preceding governors had regarded the extension 
of the colonial boundary as a necessity, but had issued no 
proclamation concerning it, as the successive secretaries of 
state were opposed to any enlargement that could possibly 
be avoided. The governors had therefore expressed their 
views with the reasons for forming them, and awaited 

Sir Harry Smith acted promptly in the matter. On the 
17 th of December, a few hours after his arrival at 
Grahamstown, he proclaimed a new boundary for the colony : 
from the mouth of the Keiskama along the western bank 
of that stream to its junction with the Tyumie, thence 
along the western bank of the Tyumie to its northernmost 
source, thence along the summit of the Katberg range to 
the centre of Gaika's Kop, thence to the nearest source of 
the Klipplaats river, thence along the western bank of the 

1847] The Seventh Kaffir War. 57 

Klipplaats to its junction with the Zwart Kei, thence along 
the western bank of the Zwart Kei to its junction with the 
Klaas Smit's river, thence along the western bank of the 
Klaas Smit's to its source in the Stormberg, thence across 
the Stormberg to the source of the Kraai river, thence 
along the western bank of the Kraai to its junction with 
the Orange, and thence along the southern bank of the 
Orange to the Atlantic ocean. 

A few days later intelligence was received of the 
surrender of Pato, which completed the apparent submission 
of the clans west of the Kei. The governor thereupon pro- 
ceeded to King-Williamstown, and on the day of his arrival 
there — 23rd of December 1847, — in presence of the chiefs 
who were assembled for the purpose, he proclaimed the 
whole of the territory occupied by the Rarabe clans and 
part of that occupied by the emigrant Tembus under the 
queen's sovereignty. It was bounded on the west by the 
new colonial border from the sea to the junction of the 
Klipplaats river with the Zwart Kei, on the north-east by 
the Kei river from that point to the sea, and on the south- 
east by the Indian ocean. This territory, which was named 
British Kaffraria, was not annexed to the Cape Colony, but 
was to be a distinct dependency of the crown, kept in 
reserve for the Kaffir people over whom the high 
commissioner was to be great chief. 

Sandile and Anta, who were brought by the high com- 
missioner from Grahamstown with him, were present with 
the other chiefs, but Makoma had not yet arrived from 
Port Elizabeth. The troops were drawn up in lines, and 
the Kaffir chiefs with some thousands of attendants were 
seated in a great hollow circle. Into this circle Sir Harry 
Smith rode with his staff, and read the proclamation. In 
order to impress the events of the day upon the minds of 
the barbarians, he then called for a sergeant's baton, which 
he termed the staff of war, and a wand with a brass head, 
which he termed the staff of peace. Calling the chiefs 
forward, he desired them to touch whichever they pleased, 

58 History of the Cape Colony. [1847 

when each of course touched the staff of peace. After an 
address of some length upon their prospects if they behaved 
themselves and threats of what would happen if they did 
not, he required them to kiss his foot in token of sub- 
mission. This they did also without hesitation. The 
ceremony concluded by the high commissioner shaking 
hands with all the chiefs, calling them his children, and 
presenting them with a herd of oxen to feast upon. 

Arrangements were immediately made for the govern- 
ment of the territory. The reverend Henry Calderwood, 
previously Gaika commissioner, was provided with a different 
situation, and Lieutenant-Colonel George Mackinnon was 
appointed commandant and chief commissioner of British 
Kaffraria. He was directed to reside in King-Williamstown, 
and to exercise control over the other officials. All corre- 
spondence with the high commissioner was to pass through 
him. To him there was to be an appeal from the decisions 
of any officials. The military officers in the territory were 
directed to support him when required, but he was not to 
call upon them for assistance except in cases of great 
emergency. For ordinary purposes the Kaffir police force 
was placed at his disposal. 

This police had been increased by Sir Henry Pottinger to 
four hundred and forty-six men. It was in two divisions, 
respectively under Lieutenant Davies and Mr. Charles 
Mostyn Owen, who were termed superintendants. In each 
division there were four junior European officers, three 
European sergeants, seven Kaffir sergeants, and eight Kaffir 
corporals. The principal part of this force was stationed 
along the colonial border, to prevent cattle stealing. Sir 
Harry Smith, like Sir Henry Pottinger, spoke and wrote 
of it in high terms of praise, but the colonists were very 
suspicious of its fidelity and regarded the training of the 
men to the use of arms as an experiment fraught with 

Captain Maclean, previously Ndlambe commissioner, was 
directed to reside at Fort Wellington, a new military post 

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l8 47j The Seventh Kaffir War. 59 

established close to the abandoned mission station Wesley- 
ville on the Tshalumna river. He had been invested with 
all the powers of a civil commissioner and resident magis- 
trate in the Cape Colony, and this authority was left to 
him. Pato and his followers were to be located in that 

Mr. Charles Brownlee, previously clerk to Mr. Calderwood, 
was appointed assistant commissioner, and was directed to 
reside at Fort Cox, in the neighbourhood of Sandile's kraal. 
Mr. William Macdowell Fynn, formerly diplomatic agent 
with Kreli, was appointed assistant commissioner, and was 
directed to reside at Fort Waterloo, in Umhala's neighbour- 
hood. Mr. Eldred Mowbray Cole, who on the 1st of May 
had been appointed Tembu commissioner with the full 
power of a civil commissioner and resident magistrate in the 
Cape Colony, was left at Shiloh, where he resided. This 
arrangement, however, was merely temporary, as the great 
body of the Tembus did not become British subjects, and 
Mr. Cole was shortly afterwards provided with a situation 

Around each fort and each mission station a circular tract 
of land with a radius of two miles or 3'2 kilometres was 
reserved, upon which no Kaffirs could settle without express 
permission. All the remaining country was left to them 
exclusively, and boundaries were laid down between the 
different clans. 

The only revenue proposed to be derived from the territory 
was from traders' licenses and fines for theft of cattle from 
beyond the border. Each trader was to pay £50 yearly for 
a license, and could only carry on business within the 
reserved areas round forts and mission stations. The sale 
of munitions of war and spirituous liquors was prohibited 
under very heavy penalties. 

A strong military force was to be left in British Kaffraria. 
It was to consist of the first battalion of the rifle brigade, 
five hundred and sixty-nine officers and men, the reserve 
battalion of the 45th, five hundred and seventy-five officers 

60 History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

and men, the 73rd regiment, five hundred and seventy 
officers and men, one hundred and two artillerymen and 
engineers, and one hundred and ninety-two officers and men 
of the Cape mounted rifles. This force was to occupy eight 
commanding positions, namely King-Williamstown, the 
headquarters, on the left bank of the Buffalo, Fort Murray, 
close to the mission station Mount Coke, on a feeder of the 
Buffalo, Fort Glamorgan, on the western side of the mouth 
of the Buffalo, with an outpost to be called Fort Grey, on 
the road to King-Williamstown, Fort Hare, on the left bank 
of the Tyumie, Fort Cox, on the upper Keiskama, Fort 
White, at the source of the Debe, new Fort Wellington, on 
the Tshalumna, and Fort Waterloo, near the Gonubie. 

These arrangements were concluded on the 24th of 
December, and a meeting of the chiefs was then called for 
the 7th of January 1848, to hear them explained. On that 
day there were assembled at King-Williamstown Sandile 
and Anta, sons of Gaika ; Kona, son of Makoma ; Fini and 
Oba, sons of Tyali, with Xoxo, the regent of the clan during 
their minority ; Umbala, son of Ndlambe ; Tabayi, son of 
Umkayi ; Siwani, Siyolo, and Umfundisi, sons of Dushane ; 
Nonibe, widow of Dushane ; Stokwe and Sonto, sons of 
Eno, of the Amambala clan ; Toyise, son of Gasela ; Tola 
and Botumane, of the Imidange clan ; Pato, Kama, and 
Kobe, of the Gunukwebe clan ; Jan Tshatshu, of the Tinde 
clan ; Umtirara and Mapasa, of the Tern! u tribe ; and 
many others of less note. Kreli and Buku were not present, 
but they had sent representatives to express their desire 
for peace. A great number of counsellors and attendants 
accompanied the chiefs. 

The missionaries were returning to their old stations or 
to form new ones, and at the high commissioner's invitation 
were present at the meeting. Camp followers of all descrip- 
tions, men attached to the commissariat and transport 
services, traders, and others attracted by curiosity helped to 
swell the assembly. The troops were drawn up in lines 
between which the high commissioner with his staff rode 

1848] The Seventh Kaffir War. 61 

towards the throng, while the bands of the regiments played 
the national anthem. 

After a prayer by the reverend Mr. Dugmore, Wesleyan 
missionary, Sir Harry Smith addressed the Kaffirs upon 
their position. The chiefs then made oath : — 

1. To obey the laws and commands of the high commis- 
sioner as great chief and representative of the queen of 
England ; 

2. To compel their people to do the same; 

3. To disbelieve in and cease to tolerate or practise 
witchcraft in any shape ; 

4. To prevent the violation of women ; 

5. To abhor murder, and to put to death every murderer ; 

6. To make their people honest and peaceable, and never 
to rob from the colony or from one another ; 

7. To acknowledge that their lands were held from the 
queen of England ; 

8. To acknowledge no chief but the queen of England 
and her representatives; 

9. To abolish the sin of buying wives ; 

10. To listen to the missionaries and make their people 
do so; 

11. On every anniversary of that day to bring to King- 
Williamstown a fat ox in acknowledgment of holding their 
lands from the queen. 

Some of these conditions were subversive of the whole 
framework of Kaffir society, nevertheless the chiefs took the 
oath in the name of the Great Spirit without any compunc- 
tion. Few of them had any intention of keeping it. 

Sandile and Kona represented that the ground on which 
their people were then living was too limited in extent for 
their needs, and wanted the high commissioner to give them 
also the territory between the Keiskama and Fish rivers. 
They were informed that there was plenty of vacant land 
towards the Kei, on which they could build kraals and make 
gardens. None of the others had any request to make, and 
all were profuse of thanks. 

62 History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

Sir Harry then addressed them again, telling them what 
would happen if they were not faithful. "Look at that 
waggon," said he, pointing to one at a distance which had 
been prepared for an explosion, "and hear me give the word 
Fire ! " The train was lit, and the waggon was sent sky- 
ward in a thousand pieces. "That is what I will do to 
you," he continued, "if you do not behave yourselves." 
Taking a sheet of paper in his hand : " Do you see this ? " 
said he. Tearing it and throwing the pieces to the wind, 
" There go the treaties ! " he exclaimed. " Do you hear ? no 
more treaties ! " 

The representatives of Kreli and Buku were informed that 
peace would be made with those chiefs on the following 
terms :— 

1. That they should evacuate and never again attempt to 
occupy any ground west of the Indwe and Kei rivers ; 

2. That they should acknowledge as the property of the 
queen of England the ground a mile in breadth on each side 
of the great road from the Kei to Butterworth, and thence in 
one direction to Clarkebury and in another through Morley 
to Buntingville ; 

3. That within six days Buku should send in the arms of 
the officers murdered near the Komgha. 

The assembly then dispersed with loud shouts of "Peace, 

Buku sent in the guns within the required time, and 
Kreli proceeded to King-Williamstown, where on the 17th 
of January he had an interview with Colonel Mackinnon 
and agreed to the terms imposed upon him. Subsequently 
of his own free will he collected a number of cattle to 
compensate Mr. W. M. Fynn and the reverend Mr. Gladwin 
for the destruction of their property at, Butterworth at the 
commencement of the war. 

Kama, who had fought on the European side, was 
rewarded by having a valuable tract of land some distance 
north of the Winterberg and within the new colonial 
boundary assigned to him. It is still known as Kamastone. 

l8 4 8 J The Seventh Kaffir War. 63 

Hermanus in like maDner received a fertile slip of territory 
on the Kat river near Fort Beaufort. The refugees from 
the mission stations returned to their old homes, except 
those who had been under the reverend Mr. Calderwood's 
care at Birklands, who received grants of land close to the 
Lovedale institution, within what is now the municipality of 
Alice. Umtirara, the paramount Tembu chief, who claimed 
to have acted as a neutral, was promised protection against 
Kreli if he chose to live on the land between the colonial 
boundary and the Indwe river, but in his own territory 
between the Bashee and the Umtata he would have to 
protect himself. Mapasa became a British subject in the 
same way as the Rarabe chiefs. 

In this manner the war of the axe was brought to a 
close. To outward appearance the late hostile clans were 
now submissive, and according to their professions they were 
even grateful for the terms that had been granted to them ; 
but there were few among the chiefs who really intended to 
accommodate themselves to the new order of things. 

In this war there was no serious division among the 
colonists, as there had been in the preceding. No one in 
South Africa ventured to assert that the white people were 
in the smallest degree to blame for the rupture. Mr. 
Fairbairn wrote in the Commercial Advertiser in the same 
spirit as the editors of other colonial newspapers, and 
advocated the same measures. The reverend Dr. Philip was 
silent. He had gone through much domestic trouble, and 
had borne up against it, but the utter collapse of his plans 
for the elevation of the coloured races seemed to crush him. 
On the 1st of July 1845 his eldest son, the reverend William 
Philip, an amiable and eminently useful man, and his 
grandson, John Philip Fairbairn, a boy eleven years of age, 
were drowned at Hankey. Mr. Philip was having a tunnel 
cut through the upper end of a long narrow hill, round which 
the Gamtoos river ran with a considerable fall, so that a large 
extent of land belonging to the station might be irrigated. 
With his nephew he went to inspect the work, when by an 

64 History of the Cape Colony. \}%$> 

accident the boat in which they were crossing the river was 
overturned, and both were drowned. The blow was a severe 
one to Dr. Philip, but his religious principles enabled him to 
bear up under it. Yet when he was to:d that the man whom 
he had exhibited in England as a model Christian Kaffir was 
in arms against the colony and taking part with the 
murderers of helpless Fingo women and children he fairly 
broke down. From that time onward he was as much 
marked by meekness and gentleness as he had previously 
been by the opposite qualities. In the following year Mrs. 
Philip, who was a lady of great talent and zeal in the cause 
of missions, went to Hankey to die. There Dr. Philip spent 
his own last days, in complete abstention from everything 
connected with politics, but endeavouring to the utmost of 
his ability to promote the moral welfare of the coloured 




The war now concluded had been protracted for a period of 
twenty-one months, and had cost the imperial government 
in round numbers one million pounds sterling. The colonists 
had also suffered very severely both in life and in property, 
a careful estimate made at the time showing losses exceeding 
half a million sterling. The Bantu engaged in hostilities 
were more numerous than they had been in 1834, and many 
of them were supplied with firearms. They were therefore 
able to hold out longer, and to do greater damage than they 
had done before. But their losses were much greater than 
those of the Europeans. Towards the close of hostilities 
many were compelled to subsist upon wild plants, and 
thousands now sought service in the colony to obtain 

This state of distress was the cause of the clans acting in 
the most submissive manner until the next crops were 
gathered. Their laws and customs remained undisturbed, 
except that punishment for the imaginary crime of witch- 
craft was prohibited as far as possible. No more authority 
was taken from the chiefs than 'was necessary to preserve 
peace, and none of them made any complaint. Thus 
Colonel Mackinnon, the subordinate officials, the traders, 
and the missionaries were all of opinion that matters were 
going on as well as could be desired in British Kaffraria. On 
the 7th of October 1848 there was a conference at King- 
Williamstown between Sir Harry Smith and the chiefs and 
leading people of the province, when none but the most loyal 
vol. hi. 65 e 

66 History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

expressions were heard. Bishop Grey, who accompanied the 
governor, laid the foundation stone of the beautiful edifice 
now known as Trinity church, and Sir Harry laid the 
foundation of the Wesleyan church in Berkeley-street. 
Kreli, who arrived from beyond the Kei on the following 
day, just after his Excellency left to return to Capetown, 
galloped five miles till he overtook the governor, with whom 
he had a very friendly interview. 

At the close of 1848 a census of the Bantu was taken, 
when the strength of each clan was found to be : 

Under Sandile 14,915 souU Under Siyolo 2,161 souls 

Umhala 10,018 ,, ,, Makoma 2,066 „ 

Pato and Kobe 8,527 ,, ,, Jan Tshatshu 1,717 ,, 

Toyise 7,481 „ „ Tola 1,487 „ 

Tebe 4,867 ,, ,, Botumane 1,455 ,, 

Stokwe 3,342 „ „ Tabayi 877 „ 

Siwani 2,773 ,, „ Sonto 672 „ 

Making a total of 62,358 Bantu in the province. It was 
supposed that there were then from twenty to twenty-five 
thousand Gaikas seeking food in Galekaland, Tembuland, 
and the colony. The revenue derived from trading licenses 
during the year was £2,470. 

On the 28th of December 1847 the village at the mouth of 
the Buffalo river was named East London by a government 
notice, and on the 14th of January 1848 by a proclamation 
of Sir Harry Smith it, with the ground enclosed by a radius 
of two miles, was annexed to the Cape Colony, in order to 
prevent complications in the customs duties. A board of 
commissioners to report upon the best means of improving 
the mouth of the river for shipping purposes was appointed, 
consisting of Captain Walpole, of the royal engineers, Lieu- 
tenant Forsyth, of the royal navy, Mr. Delabere Blaine, and 
Mr. Charles Borradaile. Nothing, however, resulted from 
the appointment of this board, as there were no funds 
available for harbour improvements of even the simplest 

On the 23rd of December 1847 the territory between the 
old colonial border and British KafTraria was constituted a 

1848] Sir Harry Smith. 6j 

division of the Cape Colony, and was named Victoria East. 
On the following day the reverend Henry Calderwood was 
appointed its civil commissioner and resident magistrate, 
and was directed to open a court in the village of Alice, on 
the right bank of the Tyumie river. Some large tracts of 
fertile land in the upper part of the division were set apart 
for the use of those Fingos who had assisted the government 
in the war. In the unreserved portions farms were after- 
wards surveyed and offered for sale, some of which fell into 
the hands of speculators and were not occupied for many 

On the 31st of March 1848 the ratification by the imperial 
authorities of the extension of the colony was announced 
to the governor by the secretary of state. 

Upon the conclusion of peace the military force in South 
Africa was reduced, though four thousand seven hundred and 
three officers and men were still retained in the country. The 
6th regiment, five hundred and sixty-four officers and men, 
.seventy-two artillerymen and engineers, and six Cape mounted 
riflemen were stationed in Capetown ; the reserve battalion 
of the 91st, five hundred and ninety-one officers and men, 
five hundred and thirty-four Cape mounted riflemen, and one 
hundred and eighty artillerymen and engineers were kept at 
Grahamstown and twelve other posts scattered about the 
eastern frontier; two thousand and eight officers and men 
were stationed in British KafTraria ; fifty-eight Cape mounted 
riflemen were in Bloemfontein ; and six hundred and ninety 
officers and men were in Natal. 

From the other regiments that bad taken part in the war 
men were allowed to join the battalions that remained in 
South Africa or to take their discharge and settle in military 
villages, and those who did not do so were sent back to 
England. In January 1848 the 27th regiment, two hundred 
and eighty-three strong, the 90th, three hundred and ninety- 
four strong, the 62nd, one hundred and forty-five strong, and 
one hundred and forty-five men of the first battalion of the 
91st, embarked to return to Great Britain. They were 

68 History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

followed in March by seventy-three men of the 91st, and in 
April by the 7th dragoons, two hundred and fifty-seven 
strong, and one hundred and ninety-five invalids. 

As early as May 1841 Colonel Lewis, of the royal engineers, 
proposed the establishment of military villages on the frontier, 
as a means of defence against the Kaffirs, though the plan 
had been tried by Sir Rufane Donkin at Fredericksburg, and 
had failed. Sir Harry Smith thought that with a better class 
of men than those of the Royal African corps it would 
succeed, and on the 24th of December 1847 he issued a notice 
calling for applications from soldiers to settle in the Tyumie 
valley. On the 1st of January 1848 in general orders issued 
at King-Williamstown he announced the conditions on which 
the villages would be established. 

Each soldier was to have twelve acres of land with a free 
title after seven years' occupation, arms and ammunition, 
rations for twelve months for himself, wife, and children, a 
plough and a harrow, tools for constructing a house, and seed 
for cornlands and garden free of charge ; a donation of £5 to 
purchase furniture ; and a loan of oxen and waggons for the 
first season and of a tent till he could build a house. He could 
be called out for military service when needed, and was then 
to receive from two shillings and six pence to three shillings 
and six pence a day according to his class, and when required 
to drill was to be paid six pence a day less. In each village 
there was to be a superintendent, who was to have a hundred 
acres of land and five shillings a day for two years. 

Under these conditions seventy men with two women and 
two children were located under the superintendency of 
Captain Moultrie at Juanasburg,* seventy men under the 
superintendency of Lieutenant Godfrey Armytage at Woburn, 
sixty-three men with twelve women and forty-two children 
under the superintendency of Sergeant Porter at Auckland, 
and forty-four men with three women and eleven children 

* So named after the governor's wife, a Spanish lady whose acquaintance 
he had made under very romantic circumstances during the war in the 

1848] Sir Harry Smith 69 

under the superintendency of Corporal Jacob at Ely. As far 
as beauty of situation and fertility of soil are concerned, 
these villages were well planned, three of them being in the 
valley of the Tyumie river and the fourth on a tributary 
of that stream, all within a couple of hours' ride from Alice 
and Fort Hare. 

But many of the military settlers soon became dissatisfied. 
Delays, which the governor could not prevent, took place in 
the measurement of their lands, and there were complaints 
that the seed corn was not delivered to them at the right 
time for sowing. Still, during the first year, while free 
rations were served out, there was no sign of failure, but 
as soon as the issue of food ceased a falling off in the 
number of the residents commenced. Some of the men 
indeed set to work with a will, especially at Auckland, 
where they turned their attention to cutting timber in the 
neighbouring forest, but most of them were unfit to gain a 
living as independent landowners, and the absence of women 
was of itself fatal to the permanency of the settlements. 

An attempt to form a strong Hottentot village on the 
Beka river was made at the same time. Hottentots who 
had served in the levies were to receive grants of ground 
from six to twelve acres in extent, rations till they could 
raise crops, and seed corn. They were to be under the 
superintendence of a Moravian missionary, and a grant of 
six thousand acres of ground was to be made to the 
Moravian society for the purpose of forming a station 
adjoining the little* freeholds. A number of Hottentots 
accepted these terms, and were .conducted by the reverend 
Christian Ludwig Teutsch to the Beka. But they soon grew 
discontented, and after a short trial abandoned the place, 
when the plan of forming a mission station there was also 
given up. 

The arrangements for the protection of the border worked 
so satisfactorily for a time that the farmers of Albany and 
Somerset were able to resume their ordinary occupations. 
Many homesteads were rebuilt, and grazing lands were 

jo History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

restocked. Probably no country in the world recovers from 
disaster more rapidly than the Cape Colony. Drought, 
floods, war, locusts, cattle diseases, have at intervals brought 
it apparently to ruin, when two or three years afterwards 
it has been as prosperous as ever. No one visiting the 
eastern districts in 1850, without a knowledge of past 
occurrences, would have imagined that they had recently 
been laid waste by a barbarous enemy. 

On the 9th of January 1848 the newly annexed territory 
north of the Stormberg was proclaimed a division, with the 
name of Albert. Mr. John Centlivres Chase was appointed 
its civil commissioner and resident magistrate, and was 
directed to hold his court in Burghersdorp. This was then 
the only village in that large territory, but in May 1849 
Aliwal North was founded, in a beautiful situation on the 
bank of the Orange river. 

A great increase in the number of courts of justice in the 
older parts of the Cape Colony was made at this time. In 
February 1846 the legislative council recommended the 
appointment of eleven additional magistrates, and on the 
26th of June 1847 an ordinance was passed empowering 
the governor to create courts of resident magistrates in 
places where he might deem them necessary. Under this 
ordinance, on the 8th of March 1848 Sir Harry Smith 
proclaimed the new districts of Tulbagh, Piketberg, Simons- 
town, Riversdale, Mossel Bay, Richmond, Bathurst, Fort 
Beaufort, Stockenstrom, and Fort Peddie. To these districts, 
in the order here named, the following gentlemen were 
appointed magistrates : Major Piers, Captain J. M. Hill, Mr. 
F. B. Pinney, Major J. Barnes, Major George Longmore, 
Captain F. Hope, Mr. George Dyason, Mr. J. H. Borcherds, 
Mr. T. H. Bowker, and Mr. W. M. Edye. 

The districts of Paarl, Caledon, and Port Elizabeth were 
made divisions also, and their resident magistrates — Mr. K. 
N. van Breda, Mr. W. M. Mackay, and Captain W. Lloyd — 
were required to perform the duties of civil commissioners as 
well, Two new divisions were created : Malmesbury, which 

1848] Sir Harry Smith. 71 

was made to include the districts of Malmesbury and 
Piketberg, of which Mr. W. F. Bergh was appointed civil 
commissioner, and Fort Beaufort, which was made to include 
the districts of Fort Beaufort and Stockenstrom, of which 
Mr. J. H. Boreherds became civil commissioner. 

In 1848 the branch of the Anglican church in South 
Africa was greatly strengthened by the arrival of its first 
bishop, Dr. Robert Grey, son of a former bishop of Bristol, 
and previously vicar of Stockton-on-Tees. On the 25th of 
September 1847 letters patent were issued, constituting the 
Cape Colony, Natal, and the island of St. Helena a 
bishopric, and funds for the endowment of the see were 
provided by the baroness Burdett-Coutts, a wealthy English 

When the bishop arrived he found only thirteen Anglican 
congregations in the colony, no schools in connection with 
them, and no missions among the heathen. He was accom- 
panied and followed by a large staff of active clergymen, 
who were stationed in the country villages, where they 
usually founded schools and mission chapels beside their 
churches. From the day of his appointment the bishop 
devoted much of his attention to the spread of denomina- 
tional education within his diocese. No long time elapsed 
before he had a commencement of that list of hi^h 
schools of the English church which are dotted over South 
Africa, by the establishment of the diocesan college for 
Europeans, at Rondebosch, and the Zonnebloem institution for 
blacks, at Woodstock, close to Capetown. The last named 
was intended as a sort of high school, in which the sons of 
chiefs and men of influence could be educated, and to which 
the most intelligent pupils from the station schools 
throughout South Africa could be drafted, there to receive 
such training, as well as instruction from books, as would 
qualify them to fill important posts among their countrymen. 

The Anglican church entered the mission field with this 
advantage over all other pre-existing bodies there, except 
the Dutch reformed and the Wesleyans, that its operations 

72 History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

were directed from the colony itself, not from distant 
Europe. This vastly increased its power for aggressive 
warfare. Owing to the liberality of churchmen in England 
and of societies there, it had also the command of a greater 
amount of money, in addition to which it was largely aided 
by grants from the colonial treasury. The see has since 
been divided again and again, and with each new bishop 
the staff of clergymen has been enlarged, so that now it has 
a greater number of ministers than any other Christian 
society in the country. 

The Roman catholic church was also making rapid 
progress. The see of the Cape Colony was divided into 
two by a papal bull nominating the reverend Aidan 
Devereux bishop of Paneas and vicar apostolic of the 
eastern province. He was consecrated in Capetown on the 
27th of December 1847, and a few days later took up his 
residence in Grahamstown. After establishing churches in 
many of the eastern villages, he died on the 11th of 
February 1854, and in September 1856 was succeeded by 
the right reverend Dr. Moran. 

The most notable event of this period was the determined 
opposition made by the colonists to an attempt of Earl 
Grey to convert the Cape into a convict settlement, a 
measure which was dreaded as the worst of calamities. 
The only convicts that had ever been brought to South 
Africa were criminals from the Indian islands, sent to 
Capetown to be sold as slaves during the government of 
the Dutch East India Company. No white man known to 
be a felon was permitted at any period of our history to 
set foot on South African soil. To a people whose pride it 
was, and is still, to be singularly free of the graver kinds of 
crime, any idea of the pollution of society was naturally 
most abhorrent. 

In May 1841 a scheme for making the colony a receptacle 
for criminals was first proposed by a British minister. It was 
that Europeans — chiefly soldiers — condemned in India to long 
terms of imprisonment should be confined on Robben Island, 

'848] Sir Harry Smith. J 3 

and liberated in Capetown on the expiration of their sentences. 
Sir George Napier, however, represented so forcibly the bad 
effect which such a measure would probably have upon the 
coloured people, and so many remonstrances and petitions 
against it were forwarded by the colonists to the queen and 
to both houses of parliament that it was abandoned. 

Another scheme, equally objectionable, was proposed by 
Lord Stanley in March 1842, which was to send out fifty 
convict boys to be apprenticed in the colony as an experiment. 
There was as much agitation over this proposal as over the 
other, and in November of the same year the secretary of 
state announced that it would not be carried out. 

These proposals were made at a time when, if ever, the 
colonists might have been expected to agree to them, for the 
country was then believed to be sinking into ruin from a 
dearth of labourers. The emancipation of the slaves had 
recently taken place, and the freedmen were still huddled 
together in the villages, endeavouring to support life without 
engaging in farm work. Certainly, if the vinedressers and 
corngrowers, whose lands were lying untilled in 1842, pre- 
ferred to battle with poverty rather than employ convicts, 
it could not be expected that in 1849, when their greatest 
difficulties were surmounted, they would be more inclined 
to use such labour. 

During that interval, short as it was, the colonists had made 
a great advance in liberal ideas, they had seen the ruinous 
Glenelg treaties destroyed by war, education had made con- 
siderable progress, and they had been looking forward to take 
an active part in the government of the country. Throughout 
the colony the people were imbued with an intelligent 
patriotism, they were conscious that a great and prosperous 
future was before them, if they were only true to themselves. 
In 1842 Mr. Fairbairn had advanced an opinion in the 
Commercial Advertiser " that a pestilence sweeping off half 
the population should be preferred to an infusion of vice 
which would render the whole unworthy to live," and the 
sentiment was applauded from the Atlantic to the eastern 

74 History of the Cape Colony. [1848 

frontier. A memorial of that date, after referring to the 
promising appearance of Cape society and the progress of 
education and morality among the coloured people, declared 
that "the introduction of convicts would be fatal to the 
morals, industry, and very existence of the native population 
of Southern Africa," and concluded with a pledge " not to 
employ criminals of any description, nor to receive them 
into their establishments on any terms." 

When on the 8th of November 1848 Sir Harry Smith 
announced to the legislative council that he had received a 
despatch from Earl Grey, dated the 7th of August, informing 
him of a project for making a penal settlement of the Cape, 
and an order in council of the 4th of September was read, 
in which this colony was included among those to which 
convicts might be sent, a general agitation throughout the 
country arose. Never was greater unanimity displa\ T ed than 
on this occasion. From village and farmstead, from vineclad 
valleys of the west and sheep walks of the east, alike from 
Dutchmen and Englishmen went forth the declaration to do 
everything in their power to keep untainted the land which 
was to be their children's home. 

At this time another act of the secretary of state was 
causing much dissatisfaction. In April 1848 he issued 
directions that no more agricultural families or artisans 
were to be sent out that year, as the remaining money 
voted by the legislative council to defray the cost of their 
passages was needed for the establishment of the military 
villages. This affected the colonists in two ways. First, 
though no one had any objection to the military 
villages, it was held that unmarried discharged soldiers, 
mostly men who had passed the prime of life, could not 
be of the same value to the country as industrious young 
married people for whose introduction the .money was voted. 
Secondly, it was regarded as objectionable that money provided 
by the legislative council for a particular purpose should be 
diverted by the secretary of state to something else, even if 
that other object was of equal importance. Thus Earl Grey 

l8 49] Sir Harry Smith. 75 

was not favourably regarded by the colonists, apart from 
his measures with regard to convicts. 

Memorials against the introduction of felons were circulated 
and signed everywhere throughout the country, and left 
Capetown for England on the 1st of January 1849. As Earl 
Grey, in his despatch of the 7th of August, had stated that 
he would not send out any convicts unless there should be a 
prevalent opinion in the colony in favour of the measure, — 
which was made known by public notice on the 14th of 
November, — it was now hoped that the matter was set at 
rest. The excitement revived, however, with tenfold force 
when on the 21st of March 1849 an announcement was made 
in the Commercial Advertiser at Capetown, taken over from 
an English newspaper of the 30th of December, that a ship 
with convicts from the model prison at Pentonville was on 
her way to Bermuda, there to take in others for the Cape 
of Good Hope. 

During the period of the famine caused by the failure of 
the potato crop in Ireland, a number of persons were 
convicted of agrarian offences, and were transported to 
Bermuda. But for some reason it was considered advisable 
or necessary to remove them, and the transport Neptune was 
sent to convey them to the Cape. The character of these 
men was less objectionable than that of any other class of 
convicts, as the crimes for which they were suffering had 
been committed under the pressure of want, and were such 
as in South Africa they would be free of all temptation to 
repeat. But the principle of receiving them was the same as 
if they had been criminals of the deepest dye, and if they 
were permitted to land, the door would be open to as many 
as England might choose to send thereafter. 

It is hardly possible to conceive of men placed in a more 
embarrassing position than were the colonists at this juncture, 
when a choice had to be made between submission to the 
will of the secretary of state or resistance to his authority. 
The strong desire of the great majority was to remain loyal 
to the empire. A large part of the east was English in 

76 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 49 

blood, language, and sentiment. And if in the west men 
mostly spoke Dutch, they appreciated the advantages of 
English protection, of English ships to guard the coasts, of 
English soldiers in time of war. It was to be feared that 
this protection might be withdrawn, that England might 
fortify Simon's Bay, and while retaining it as a naval station, 
abandon the remainder of the country as a punishment for 
opposition. There were not wanting members of the imperial 
parliament who were prepared to approve of such a step as 
the easiest way of getting rid of all responsibility with regard 
to colonial defence. Here was a danger standing out before 
the loyal people of South Africa. They perhaps could not 
see it as distinctly in 1849 as a few years later, when 
British sovereignty was actually withdrawn from an African 
dependency as large as England itself ; but that such a 
policy was openly advocated by a powerful party at home, 
and might at any moment be carried out, was known to all. 
Of the two dangers, however, this was regarded as the least. 
And so the colonists resolved to trust to English honour and 
English interest not to desert them, while they opposed in 
every way short of rebellion the minister's attempt to force 
convicts upon them. 

In the general excitement which the announcement of the 
21st of March occasioned, it was some days before the people 
of the Cape peninsula could decide upon the course to be 
pursued. At length, on the suggestion of Mr. John Fairbairn, 
editor of the Commercial Advertiser, the following pledge 
was drawn up and placed in the Commercial Exchange for 
signature : — 

"Cape Town, 5th April, 1849. 

"The undersigned Inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope, 
having heard that, in violation of the pledge given by Lord 
Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies, conveyed to the 
Colonists through His Excellency the Governor, his Lordship 
has resolved to convert this Colony into a Penal Settlement, 
on the worst and most dangerous principles, in defiance of 
the petitions and remonstrances of Her Majesty's faithful 

1849] Sir Harry Smith, Jj 

subjects presented to Her Majesty in 1842, — and said to 
have been graciously received, and also to both Houses of 
Parliament, — 

" We hereby declare and solemnly promise to each other, 
and to all our fellow Colonists, that we will not employ in 
any capacity, or receive on any terms into our establish- 
ments, any one of the Convicted Felons, whom the Secretary 
of State for the Colonies has ordered to be transported to 
our shores and turned loose among us, under the designation 
of ' Exiles ' or Convicts holding Tickets of Leave 

" And we hereby call upon his Excellency the Governor, 
in the exercise of that discretionary power with which the 
Governor of every distant Colony is virtually invested, for 
the protection of his province against sudden or unforeseen 
dangers — to prohibit and prevent the landing at any port or 
place within the Colony, of any such Convicted Felons, and 
to convey to Her Majesty, by the first opportunity, this 
expression of the grief, shame, and indignation which this 
breach of faith, on the part of the Secretary for the Colonies, 
has filled every loyal heart." 

As intelligence was received from the country districts it 
became known that the European inhabitants practically to 
a man were united on this question, and delegates from all 
quarters were sent to Capetown, where on the 19th of May 
over five thousand men assembled on the grand parade and 
without a single dissentient voice declared themselves opposed 
to the reception of convicts. A committee — termed the Anti- 
convict Association, — with Mr. John Bardwell Ebden as its 
chairman, was elected to direct the movement, and a new 
and more stringent pledge was adopted. It read as follows : — 

"We, the Undersigned, Colonists and Inhabitants of the 
Cape of Good Hope, hereby solemnly declare and pledge 
our faith to each other, that we will not employ, or know- 
ingly admit into our Establishments or Houses, work with 
or for, or associate with, any convicted Felon or Felons 
sent to this Colony under Sentence of Transportation, and 
that we will discountenance and drop connection with any 

y8 History of the Cape Colony. [* 8 49 

Person who may assist in landing, supporting, or employing 
such convicted Felons." 

On the 15th of June a message was sent by the governor 
to the legislative council, which was then in session, 
announcing that on the preceding evening he had received 
despatches from Earl Grey containing instructions for the 
reception of the convicts from Bermuda, which it would 
be his duty to carry out. Every member of the council 
was opposed to the measure, and it was known that the 
governor personally objected to it as strongly as the 
colonists. It was therefore hoped that he would take 
the responsibility of suspending the order in council, but 
this he declined to do, and in consequence lost for a time 
a good deal of his popularity. On the 11th of July, 
however, he stated his intention of keeping the convicts 
in the ship after her arrival until further instructions 
concerning their disposal should be received from Earl 

And now petitions to the queen, to the parliament, and 
to the people of England poured in from all parts of the 
country, pleading that the colony should not be ruined by 
the introduction of criminals who would not only bring 
a stain upon the character of its white inhabitants, but 
would be likely to lead the coloured people into all kinds 
of vice. Many justices of the peace and fieldcornets resigned 
their offices, with a view of creating a deadlock in the 
government. Messrs. Hamilton Ross, John Bardwell Ebden, 
Henry Cloete, and William Matthew Harries,* unofficial 
members of the legislative council, with the same object 
resigned their seats. Messrs. Abraham de Smidt, Pieter 
Laurens Cloete, and Jacob Letterstedt, to whom the 
governor offered three of the vacant places, declined to 
accept them. 

The different banks and insurance offices published notices 
that they would transact no business whatever with any 

* Mr. Harries was appointed on the 19th of January i846, as successor to 
Mr. P. V. van der Byl, who had died. 

1849] Sir Harry Smith. 79 

person who employed a convict. The owners of hire houses 
in Capetown advertised to the same effect. The bakers 
refused to tender for supplies of biscuit needed by the 
commissariat, for fear it might be used to feed convicts. A 
great meeting was held at Malmesbury, and when it was 
over the whole assembly, with the Dutch clergyman at its 
head, proceeded to the church and solemnly committed its 
cause to the Almighty God. 

At daybreak on the 20th of September the sounding of 
the fire alarm gong of the town house, followed by the 
tolling of the bells of the English, Dutch, and Lutheran 

CD * > 

churches, announced to the inhabitants of Capetown that 
the Neptune had arrived in South African waters. She had 
sailed from Bermuda on the 22nd of April, but owing to 
sickness having broken out among the prisoners, had been 
detained some time at Pernambuco, which port she left 
on the 11th of August, and anchored in Simon's Bay at 
ten o'clock in the evening of the 19th of September. She 
had two hundred and eighty-two convicts on board, with 
two officers and forty-seven rank and rile of the 91st 
regiment as guards. The information was communicated as 
Tapidly as possible to the most distant parts of the colony, 
where it was received as if it had been a report of the 
outbreak of the plague. 

At an early hour an excited crowd poured into Green- 
market square, in which the old town house stands, and there 
awaited till after midday the governor's reply to a letter 
that the commissioners of the municipality had addressed 
to him, almost demanding that the Neptune should be 
instantly ordered away. His Excellency answered that to 
do this was beyond his power. Next morning a monster 
meeting was held, when a letter written by Mr. J. B. 
Ebden, chairman of the anti-convict association, was 
approved of. In it his Excellency was informed that 
" the words of the pledge, to drop connection with any 
person who should assist in supporting convicted felons, 
included all departments of the government by, or through, 

80 History of the Cape Colony. [1849 

or under the authority of which, supplies of any kind 
might be conveyed to the Neptune, until that vessel's 
destination should be changed." 

By the governor's orders no one was allowed to land 
from the ship, — and indeed had any one ventured to do 
so he must have perished of hunger or have committed 
some act to be sent to prison, — but to the urgent entreaties 
of the colonists that she should be sent away, as they 
feared that the secretary of state would not relent and 
might even grant the convicts a free pardon in order to 
enable them to settle in the country, Sir Harry Smith 
replied that if he were to do so the further detention of 
the prisoners on board would be illegal, and consequently 
his duty to the imperial authorities would not admit of 
his acting in accordance with their wishes. 

On the 10th of October twelve individuals — Messrs. 
Benjamin Norden, B. Alexander, Jacob Letterstedt, Edward 
J. Hanbury, Richard Clarence, Esau Harrington, Adriaan 
Beck, S. Osier, C. Stadler, Paul Bester, Jan Thuynsma, 
and Captain Robert Stanford — who were suspected of 
furnishing the government departments with provisions 
were denounced in the press, and were at once ostracised 
from society by their fellow citizens. An innkeeper even 
who furnished Captain Stanford with a meal found his 
house at once abandoned, and was obliged to close his 
business. Six years later, learning that • the contractor to 
supply meat to the naval establishment in Simonstown and 
the ships of war had received a pension from parliament 
owing to his loss through not carrying out his agreement 
at this time, he applied also for compensation, but was only 
laughed at. A considerable sum of money was subscribed 
by wealthy persons to indemnify those who should sustain 
pecuniary loss by adhering faithfully to the pledge, but 
this did not meet such cases as that of the contractor 
here mentioned. 

On the 11th of October the anti-convict association 
resolved that the whole of the stores and shops in the 

1849] Sir Harry Smith. 81 

peninsula should be closed to every one but known 
customers, and that all intercourse with the government 
should be suspended. This was immediately done, and 
much o£ the business ordinarily carried on ceased entirely. 
The governor announced that he would use force, if 
necessary, to prevent the troops and civil servants from 
being starved, but he managed to obtain supplies without 
having recourse to extreme measures, chiefly through the 
agency of Captain Robert Stanford, a resident of Caledon, 
who was afterwards made a knight for his services to the 
imperial authorities on this occasion. A little later, however, 
Sir Robert published a volume concerning his affairs, in 
which he complained of having been utterly ruined in 
pocket by the attitude of his neighbours and earlier friends 
towards him. He was then rewarded by a grant of £5,000. 

This condition of things evoked a spirit of lawlessness. 
On the 15th of October there was a good deal of rioting in 
Capetown, and several persons were assaulted. Late in the 
evening some twelve or thirteen negroes who had been 
temporarily thrown out of employment by the cessation 
of business, led by a couple of disguised white men, 
attacked the residence of Mr. John Fairbairn at Sea Point. 
This gentleman was the secretary and one of the most 
active members of the anti-convict association, and as such 
was regarded by the ignorant blacks as the cause of their 
being without anything to do, certainly not a common 
grievance with men of their class. Mr. Fairbairn received 
some severe injuries, and his house was utterly wrecked 
before his neighbours could gather to his assistance, when 
the rioters withdrew. Most of them had been recognised, 
and were afterwards arrested and brought to trial on the 
charge of housebreaking, theft, and assault with intent to 
commit murder. They were found guilty, but escaped 
punishment, owing to the discovery that one of the jurymen 
had personated his brother who had been summoned. 

Week after week passed away, and Capetown remained 
like a city on the sabbath, with its ordinary occupations 
vol. in. » 

82 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 S° 

suspended. Money was raised by subscription, and the 
unemployed were provided for, so that there was no longer 
a fear of riots and disorder. In December came a repetition 
of an earlier assurance by Earl Grey that there was no 
intention of sending any more convicts to the Cape, but 
the colonists did not relax their vigilance for a moment, 
nor waver in their determination that not one should be 
landed if they could prevent it. This perseverance had its 
reward. At last, on the 13th of February 1850, a despatch 
was received by the governor from the secretary of state, 
dated the 30th of the preceding November, instructing him 
to send the Neptune to Van Diemen's Land, where the 
convicts on board were to receive a conditional pardon, and 
to be liberated. She sailed in the morning of the 21st of 

The long vigil was over, and everywhere there was 
rejoicing. Capetown was illuminated that night, and the 
streets were rilled with people congratulating each other that 
the colony had been saved from pollution. To God who bad 
given them grace to act as they had done their humble 
thanks were due. And so Friday, the 8th of March 1850, 
was observed as a day of general thanksgiving to the 
Almighty for the deliverance of the country from the 
calamity with which it had been threatened. 

A small sum of money — £100 — was subscribed in Cape- 
town and sent on board the Neptune to be distributed among 
the convicts on their arrival in Van Diemen's Land, but 
beyond that no pity was manifested for them, more on 
account of the principle that was being contended for than 
owing to disregard of the fact that many — -perhaps most — 
of these men were not criminals in the ordinary sense of 
the word. Mr. C. B. Adderley, a member of the house of 
commons, had advocated the South African cause in a very 
able manner, and it was felt that some fitting acknowledg- 
ment should be made to him. Accordingly the municipality 
of Capetown voted £100 to purchase a piece of plate as a 
testimony of their gratitude, and to the principal street in 

1 850] Sir Harry Smith. &3 

the city, which for nearly two centuries had been called 
the Heeregracht, his name was given. 

Among the prisoners in the Neptune was the celebrated 
John Mitchell, and, apart from his political opinions, few 
men could have been less criminally disposed than he. To 
such a man it must have been galling that he was 
considered unworthy to set foot on South African soil, 
yet he wrote afterwards applauding the members of the 
anti-convict association for what they had done in defence 
of their honour.* 

The action of the colonists at this time not only prevented 
the country being made a penal settlement, but created a 
respect for themselves in England greater than they had 
previously enjoyed. They had gone further perhaps than 
was necessary to secure their object, and they had acted in 
a highhanded and intolerant manner towards all who did 
not fully agree with them in the method of bringing 
pressure to bear upon the government, as is customary 
with people everywhere when in a state of excitement, still 
the spectacle exhibited by them was that of an earnest, 
united, intelligent people guarding fearlessly its honour and 
its purity, a spectacle that could not but command the 
esteem of Englishmen. Men who could act as they had 
done had unquestionably risen to a high moral and intel- 
lectual standard, and had shown that they were worthy of 
being entrusted with their own government. 

In the northwest of the Cape Colony there is a belt of 
land which is almost a desert. From the margin of the 
great plateau known as Bushmanland, it falls away by a 
series of steps to the shore of the Atlantic. A long, narrow 
belt, twenty thousand square miles in extent, it presents to 
the eye nothing but a succession of hill and gorge and 
sandy plain, all bare and desolate except when heavy rains 
produce a temporary carpeting of flowers. But this is 

* In 1853 he made his escape from Van Diemen's Land, and reached San 
Francisco safely, where he was very warmly welcomed by the Irish residents 
and those who sympathised with them. 

84 History of the Cape Colony. [1850 

seldom, for the fall of rain and dew together scarcely 
exceeds four or five inches in the year. A land of drought 
and famine, of blinding glare and fiery blast, such is the 
country of the Little Namaquas. From time immemorial 
it had been the home of a few thousand Hottentots, who 
were almost safe in such a desert from European intrusion. 
Half a dozen missionaries and fifty or sixty farmers and 
traders were the sole representatives of civilisation among 
these wandering savages. 

Yet few parts of the world are richer in mineral wealth 
than this inhospitable, uninviting region. On its eastern 
side, at an elevation of something like three thousand feet- 
above the surface of the sea, are enormous masses of ore, 
some of which are capable of yielding thirty per cent of 
copper. At various points along that ridge, for a distance 
of at least one hundred and twenty miles, these lodes are 
found scattered. Here it was that the Hottentots obtained 
metal for their rude trinkets long before Van Eiebeek planted 
the Netherland flag on the shore of Table Bay. From this 
source came the copper which, being spread among the 
south-western tribes in small quantities by means of barter 
and war, attracted the attention of early Dutch rulers, and 
caused Simon van der Stel to leave his quarters in the 
castle and make a wearisome journey to what was then 
the far and unknown north. The metal bearing country 
was discovered, but the steep declivities, the frightful ravines, 
the wastes of sand, were physical obstacles at that time 
too great to be overcome in getting the ore to the sea. 

In 1837 Captain James Alexander, a British military 
officer who travelled through the country to Walfish Bay, 
sent some specimens of ore to Mr. George Thompson, a 
merchant in Capetown. They had been obtained on the 
southern bank of the Orange river, about eighty miles from 
the sea. The best of these specimens were assayed by Sir 
John Herschel, at Mr. Thompson's request, and were found 
to contain sixty-five per cent of pure copper. The remaining 
specimens were taken to London by Mr. Samuel Bennett, and 

1852] Sir Harry Smith. 85 

were submitted to an assayer in Hatton Garden, who certi- 
fied that they contained a percentage of 27'875 pure copper. 
Mr. Bennett tried to form a company in England to work 
the mines, but did not succeed. 

At the beginning of 1846 an association, with a capital 
of £1,000, was formed in Capetown to explore the district 
and ascertain if mining would likely prove remunerative, 
but the reports from the persons who were sent for this 
purpose were not very favourable. After this there is much 
uncertainty as to how, when, and by whom the idea of 
working the mines was taken up, as many persons laid 
claim to the distinction of having been next in the field. 
It may have suggested itself to several individuals at the 
same, or nearly the same time. This much is certain, that 
in 1848 a lease of ground for mining purposes was obtained 
from a Hottentot chief by Mr. Donald McDougall, who was 
then the proprietor of a trading establishment at Alexander 
Bay, near the mouth of the Orange river. The ground thus 
obtained was situated on the south bank of the river, about 
sixty miles above its mouth. The fact that such a lease had 
been acquired was known to several merchants in Capetown, 
though no immediate use was made of it. Six years later 
the Kodas mine was opened there by a Port Elizabeth 
Company that acquired Mr. McDougalPs rights, and was 
found not to answer the expectations formed of it, though 
the river offered easy means of transport, as it is navigable 
from Missionary Drift close to the locality to within a few 
miles of its mouth. 

In 1852 the firm of Philips and King, of Capetown, 
commenced operations at Springbokfontein, which was for 
a long time the most valuable mining centre known in 
the district. Soon afterwards a host of prospectors and 
explorers, bent upon discovering and appropriating copper 
mines, poured into Namaqualand. A perfect mania for 
forming companies set in, and quickly spread throughout 
the colony. They were called mining companies, though 
some were formed merely with a view of selling scrip, 

86 History of the Cape Colony, [ l8 54 

and others had no intention of sinking a single shaft, for 
it was generally believed that there was sufficient ore on 
the surface of the ground to occupy all the labour that 
could be obtained for many years. And in the eagerness 
to secure shares, no one thought it worth while to ascertain 
whether this was fact or merely supposition. 

This wild speculation reached its height in 1854, by 
which time companies had been formed in all the principal 
villages as far east as Grahamstown. Capetown decidedly 
took the lead in the matter. Shares in the Alliance, the 
Colonial, the Cape of Good Hope, the Eagle, the Equitable, 
the Nabas, the New Burra Burra, the No. 6, the South 
African, the Victoria, the Tradesmen's, the Union, the 
Western Province, and several more, were eagerly taken 
up. Even the usually quiet unexci table Paarl had its 
mining company, called by its own name. Nor was Little 
Namaqualand the only field where it was imagined wealth 
could speedily be obtained. An association in Capetown 
sent prospectors north of the Orange, and under the name 
of the Walfish Bay mining company shipped several tons 
of ore from that district. 

Parties of labourers were got together and sent by sea 
to Hondeklip Bay, many of them being under the charge 
of incompetent overseers. Some were sent to localities 
where there was not sufficient ore to meet the expense 
of removing it, others to places where there was no ore 
at all. The government directed a geologist to survey the 
district, but his report, which necessarily could not be sent 
in at once, was not waited for. Commander Nolloth was 
instructed by the commodore on the station to make a 
careful examination of the coast in her Majesty's brig of 
war Frolic, and particularly to ascertain if there was any 
safe harbour on it. He found none better than Hondeklip 
Bay, which afforded shelter for boats while vessels larger 
than small cutters were obliged to anchor off it in the 
open sea, and Robbe Bay, which was similar in character. 
To the last mentioned his name was given by the governor 

1855] Opening of Copper Mines. &7 

in March 1855, and it has ever since been termed Port 

In 1855 the bubble burst. A feverish anxiety to dispose 
of shares prevailed for a time, and ended in the dissolution 
of most of the companies. A good deal of capital had been 
thrown away, many grand expectations had been shattered, 
but the colony had added to its exports an article that is 
now worth over £300,000 a year. 

For, amidst the general failures, two companies had 
achieved a splendid success. The mine of Springbokfontein, 
owned by Messrs. Philips and King, proved to be im- 
mensely rich and productive, as did also the mine of 
Spektakel, shortly afterwards acquired by the same firm. 
The only difficulty experienced was in the matter of trans- 
port, for the animal power of the country was insufficient 
to convey the ore to the coast as fast as it could be got 
ready. Mules were imported, but as their forage had to be 
brought from distant parts of the colony, the expense of 
keeping them was very great. Still before 1871 all the ore 
that reached the sea was brought down by mules or oxen. 
Some years before that date the firm of Philips and King 
had transferred their property in Namaqualand to the Cape 
Copper Mining Company, that in 1869 commenced the 
construction of a narrow gauge railway from Port Nolloth 

to Ookiep. 

Another firm — Messrs. Prince, Collison &; Co., of Cape- 
town, — was successful in working the Concordia mine, but 
its operations were on a smaller scale than those just 
mentioned. This firm subsequently disposed of its rights 
to the Namaqualand Mining Company, which is still actively 
engaged in the district. 

The progress of the new industry is shown in the 
following returns of exports, issued by the custom house. 
In 1852 thirty-one tons of ore were sent to England, in 
1853 one hundred and ninety-nine tons, in 1854 one 
thousand and eighty-four tons, and in 1855 one thousand 
eight hundred and ninety-three tons. 

88 History of the Cape Colony. [1855 

The government when issuing licenses to mining com- 
panies did all that was possible to protect the rights of the 
Hottentot and Bushman occupants of the district, but these 
certainly were not benefited by the influx of so many 
strangers of loose habits. As for the farmers who had been 
living there, many of them did not attempt to accommodate 
themselves to the new order of things, but moved away to 
the temt ory between the Yaal and the Orange, where they 
could hope to continue the quiet kind of life to which they 
were attached. 

The opening of the copper mines had no effect whatever 
upon the great majority of the people of the Cape Colony, 
who remained a purely agricultural and pastoral community. 
After the industry became settled, the white labour employed 
was obtained from Cornwall, and the district was as secluded, 
owing to its physical features and its barrenness, as 
if it had been an island. The mines indeed provided a 
small market for Cape produce, but that was sent by sea 
from Capetown to Hondeklip Bay or Port Nolloth, and the 
farmers came no closer in contact with the consumers than 
did the Malay fishermen on the south-western coast with the 
labourers on the sugar plantations of Mauritius for whose 
use they dried snoek and geelbek. 

At this time an institution that in the early days of 
the colony added greatly to the attractions of Capetown, 
but that had long since fallen into complete decay, was 
resuscitated, though not on the same scale as in the days 
of Simon van der Stel. When the Dutch East India Com- 
pany fell into financial difficulties its great garden in 
Table Valley was neglected, and at length the ground was 
actually leased to a private individual to make the most 
he could out of it by growing vegetables. Sir George 
Yonge regarded the whole of the ground on the south side 
of the main avenue as his private garden, and during his 
short term of office a considerable sum of money was ex- 
pended in embellishing it. The ground on the north side of 
the avenue was allowed to lie waste, and soon it was running 

1848] Sir Harry Smith. 89 

wild with weeds, with here and there a foreign or 
native tree or shrub that had survived the general 
neglect. So it continued during the Batavian administration 
and that of the English governors down to 1848. Even Lord 
Charles Somerset, whose tastes lay in the direction of 
beautiful gardens and grounds, did nothing to reclaim this 
land grown wild, but bestowed all his attention upon his 
favourite home at Newlands. That the ground escaped being 
cut up into building allotments and sold by public auction 
is almost a marvel. 

Individuals were not wanting who from time to time 
brought to the notice of the authorities what this ground 
had once been and what it was capable of being made into 
again, but the public finances were in such a state that 
it was impossible to devote any money to such a purpose. 
At length, however, the colony was free of debt, and the 
government was in a position to do something towards a 
work of this kind. The matter was brought forward in the 
legislative council, and it was resolved to constitute a 
board of management and to contribute £300 a year with as 
much more as should be raised by public subscription 
towards the cost of creating a botanic garden in the ground 
on the right hand side of the avenue when going towards 
the mountain. The garden was regarded not only as an 
ornament to Capetown, but as a nursery of useful plants, and 
a school of instruction for every one in the colony who 
might choose to visit it. 

On the 2nd of May 1848 instructions were issued to 
the ' board of commissioners for superintending and direct- 
ing a botanical garden in Capetown," constituting them a 
permanent commission, and directing them to proceed with 
the duty entrusted to them. The municipality of Capetown 
voted £150 towards the project, and private subscriptions 
amounted to £332 5s.. which brought the sum at the board's 
disposal to commence with up to £1,264 10s. The ground to 
be laid out was a parallelogram in size about thirteen 
English acres or a little larger than six Cape morgen or 

go History of the Cape Colony, [1848 

five hectares and a quarter, so that the money in hand did 
not suffice for more than a very humble beginning. But it 
was a beginning which led up to what we see at present. As 
soon as the ground was prepared, planting was taken in 
hand, the first trees and shrubs set out being presented 
by Mr. D. van Breda, who had an excellent collection of 
plants in his fine garden on Oranjezicht. 

Another improvement of the time was the reconstruction 
of a good carriage road from Sea Point to Camp's Bay and 
over the kloof into Capetown. This had fallen into such a 
ruinous state that a man could not get to Camp's Bay even 
on horseback from either Capetown or Sea Point, much less 
in a wheeled vehicle. The reconstruction of this road 
provided the inhabitants with one of the most charming 
drives in the world, with scenery ever changing but 
always grand. It was even contemplated to construct a 
carriage road along the back of Table Mountain from Camp's 
Bay to Hout Bay, and then over the neck past Constantia to 
Wynberg, which it was believed would prove a great attrac- 
tion to visitors, but upon a careful survey being made, it 
was found that the cost would be beyond the means of the 
colony, so that this work was of necessity deferred, and 
has only been carried out in our own time. 






81 ST MARCH 1852, RETIRED 26TH MAY 1854. 


During 1848 and 1849 as far as could be seen everything 
worked smoothly in British Kaffraria, but all the time the 
Gaikas regarded the apparent settlement as a mere truce, 
and were making preparations for a renewal of the conflict. 
The military force in the territory was not strong enough to 
overawe them, and without physical power they could not 
be kept in restraint. The sympathy of the Kaffir police 
was entirely with their countrymen, so that no dependence 
should have been placed upon them. Then the Gaikas were 
still in possession of the Amatola, and as long as these 
fastnesses remained in their hands they could not forget 
their former independence. Too much also was expected 
from the chiefs. That men in their position and with their 
training should submit to the loss of absolute power, 
without any adequate compensation, could only result from 
necessity, and ought not to have been expected under the 

The attempt to suppress punishment of persons accused by 
witchfmders of dealing in sorcery, and the denunciation of 
the witchfinders as criminals, kept the whole body of the 


92 History of the Cape Colony. [1850 

people in a state of constant alarm. It can easily be 
understood that the chiefs would be opposed to such a 
restriction, because by it they lost the principal source of 
their revenue. But that the people— especially those 
possessing property, and who were therefore themselves in 
perpetual danger of torture and violent death on the mere 
charge of a witchfinder — should have opposed it also, may 
seem most strange. The reason is to be found in their 
belief concerning sorcery. With them there was no question, 
not the shadow of a doubt, that evil disposed persons could 
and did bewitch others, thereby causing sickness and death. 
Their knowledge of different kinds of poisons, and the use 
frequently made of them, tended to confirm this belief. It 
followed as a corollary that the new government, by pre- 
venting the punishment of such supposed malevolent persons, 
was wantonly exposing the people to destruction. This was 
their view of the case, similar to what ours would be if 
assassins were permitted by law to wander about unmolested 
and constables were punished for arresting criminals. 

In the winter of the year 1850 the frontier colonists were 
forced to the belief that another struggle with the Kaffirs 
was at hand. At the instigation of the Gaika chiefs, or at 
least with their concurrence, an individual who claimed to 
possess supernatural power was busy preparing their people 
for war. This man's name was Umlanjeni. The chiefs 
patronised him, the people gave credit to his wild predic- 
tions of superhuman aid in driving the white man into the 
sea. They believed that certain charms which he gave them 
would prevent musket balls from hurting them, and would 
cause cattle to follow them wherever they chose to lead. 
The farmers saw their servants returning to Kaffirland at 
the call of Umlanjeni, and they suspected what was coming. 
The governor, who thought the fears of the colonists were 
only imaginary, left Capetown on the 15th of October to 
visit the frontier, and sent an invitation to the chiefs to 
meet him on the 26th of that month at King-Wiiliamstown. 
On the day appointed not a single Gaika chief of any 

1850] The Eighth Kaffir War. 93 

importance was present, and many of the others also failed 
to attend. Sandile stated afterwards that he feared he 
would be made a prisoner if he met the governor, but this 
was a mere attempt to furnish an excuse. Only a few 
captains of inferior rank appeared, with petty bands of 
attendants, three hundred and forty individuals in all. 

This conduct was naturally regarded as equivalent to a 
direct defiance of the government. Any Kaffir chief, whose 
subordinates neglected to appear when summoned to a place 
of conference, would regard and treat them as rebels. Sir 
Harry, however, still believed that he could intimidate the 
Xosas, and with this object on the 30th of October he issued 
a proclamation deposing Sandile from his position as head of 
the Gaika clans and appointing Mr. Charles Brownlee in his 
stead. Then, as no rising actually took place, the governor, 
after making a few trifling arrangements for the conduct of 
affairs, returned to Capetown. 

The official deposition of Sandile and his replacement by 
a European had not the slightest effect upon a single Kaffir. 
Mr. Brownlee was born and brought up among them, being 
a son of the first missionary who settled at the Tyumie, he 
was as conversant with their language as with English or 
Dutch, and as his mother was a Dutch colonial woman he 
had equal sympathy with the three nationalities in the 
country. He was also an able and highminded man, and, 
what was of great importance from a Kaffir point of view, 
large in person and an athlete in strength. Further than 
this, he was regarded by the Gaikas almost as one of them- 
selves. They believed that his mother had been long 
childless, and that a Xosa doctor had given her a charm 
made of hairs from the tail of a heifer, with the result 
that he was born.* There was at the time no other man in 

* I was first informed of this by the chief Oba, and on my throwing doubts 
upon it he maintained that it was certainly true, and that Mr. Brownlee was 
therefore in a manner a Gaika. I afterwards inquired of many old men, and 
met with the reply that everybody knew it was so. Very strange to our ideas 
are some of the wild fancies that influence these people, but they cannot be 
iguored or laughed at by those who desire to guide them into clearer light. 

94 History of the Cape Colony. [1850 

South Africa so well qualified in every essential respect for 
the position assigned to him. But, though a European may 
acquire enormous influence with Bantu, he can never replace 
a chief who is still living, and that for the simple reason 
that he cannot occupy the position in their religion that the 
hereditary ruler holds, for he is not the descendant and 
representative of the object of their worship. And so Mr. 
Brownlee could do nothing to bring the Xosas to a different 
frame of mind. 

The governor returned to Capetown, believing that ". there 
was not the slightest cause for alarm. He relied so much 
upon the prestige of his name, and was so thoroughly con- 
vinced that the Kaffirs appreciated the civilising tendencies 
of English rule, that he would not permit any steps to be 
taken which would imply the possibility of another war. 
But he had scarcely reached the seat of government when 
he received accounts which caused him to hasten back again 
at the head of all the troops available. His arrival at King- 
Williamstown with these reinforcements would, he felt sure, 
prevent any disturbances that might have been in con- 
templation. Sandile had in the meantime taken up his 
residence in a thicket at the Rabula, in the wild forest land 
of hill and glen along the head waters of the Keiskama ; 
and as he would not appear at King-Williamstown, on the 
20th of December he and his equally refractory brother Anta 
were outlawed. The attempt to substitute a European for 
a chief was abandoned, and the government of the two 
clans was entrusted to Sutu, great widow of Gaika, with 
the title of regent. A body of counsellors, supposed to be 
attached to the European interest, was appointed to assist 

At daylight in the morning of the 24th of December 
1850 a column of troops seven hundred strong, consisting 
of detachments of the 6th, 45th, and 73rd regiments of 
foot and of the Cape mounted rifles, left Fort Cox on the 
Keiskama, and proceeded up the river. The patrol was 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Mackinnon, and was 

1850] The Eighth Kaffir War. 95 

accompanied by a large party of the Kaffir police. The 
objects of this movement were, first, to arrest the deposed 
chiefs or drive them from their lurking place, second, to 
dispel the fears of the farmers by making what was 
expected to be a peaceful march through the wildest part 
of the country. It would be a test of the perfect sub- 
mission of the Kaffirs, for up to this moment the governor 
did not believe that they had any intention of beginning 
another war. So deceived was he, indeed, that the infantry 
were not permitted to load their muskets, lest some untoward 
accident should take place in the event of Kaffirs being met 
with. The police, whose treachery he did not suspect, 
knew the particulars of the expedition and the line of 
march long enough before they set out to communicate 
the information to their countrymen. 

After proceeding some miles along the footpaths, in the 
course of the morning the patrol reached the Boomah pass, 
a rugged defile between precipitous bush-covered ridges, so 
narrow that the horsemen could not move two abreast. 
Some Kaffirs were seen on the hills, but as yet no shot had 
been fired. The police entered the pass first, then the Cape 
corps, and afterwards the infantry. Just as the last horseman 
was through, an attack was made upon the line by thousands 
of Kaffirs who were lying in ambush behind rocks and in 
thickets. Sandile himself, who, owing to one of his legs 
being withered, never personally took part in an engagement, 
had just left the place with two of his counsellors. The 
troops charged into the thickets and fought their way 
through with a loss of twenty-three killed and as many 
wounded. That night they rested in the open air at 
Keiskama Hoek, with their muskets at their sides, and next 
day they made a circuit to Fort White, a post several miles 
to the eastward of Fort Cox. On the way, at the Debe 
Nek, they found the remains of fifteen men of the 45th, 
stripped and horribly mutilated. A small patrol had been 
surprised, when every man was put to death without mercy. 
In this manner the eighth Kaffir war commenced. Before 

96 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 S° 

midnight of the 24th it was known to all the elans west of 
the Kei, by the signal fires that flashed the information from 
peak to peak. 

Another inhuman massacre took place on Christmas day. 
The Gaikas were particularly embittered against the military 
settlers on the western bank of the Tyumie, because those 
people were occupying what had once been their favourite 
lands. A great deal of ill feeling had also been caused by 
the impounding of cattle trespassing on gardens. The kraals 
of Oba, son of Tyali, were on the eastern side of the valley, 
and his herds frequently crossed over the river, when they 
were driven to the pound and trespass fees were charged. 
Another cause of enmity was the removal by some soldiers 
of a pot from the grave of the chief Tyali, which was 
regarded as an act of sacrilege. The defenceless state of the 
military villages in the Tyumie valley was, however, the 
principal cause of their male inhabitants being doomed to 
death by the Kaffirs. Some time previous much uneasiness 
had been felt on account of the warlike preparations in the 
neighbourhood, but the authorities had asserted so positively 
there was no cause for alarm that the villagers had allowed 
their fears to subside. 

On Christmas morning a patrol of three men of the Cape 
corps was sent from Fort Hare to warn the people of danger, 
by announcing that war had commenced ; but the message 
was too late. About nine o'clock a horde of warriors armed 
with guns and assagais appeared at Woburn, the central 
village. The officer in charge, Stacey by name, with thirteen 
or fourteen followers made a gallant resistance, but in a few 
minutes every man was killed. The cottages were then set 
on fire, after which a party was detached to destroy Juanas- 
burg, while the remainder proceeded towards Auckland. 
Woburn was situated on a gentle slope in the centre of the 
valley, facing Juanasburg, which was four or five miles 
farther down. The last named village was built on a 
plateau commanding an extensive view, so that the residents, 
seeing the smoke of Woburn, became alarmed, and as soon 

1 85°] The Eighth Kaffir War. 97 

as the Kaffirs appeared, most of them fled and reached 
Alice in safety. Three men, however, were overtaken and 
murdered. The village was given to the flames. 

At the head of the valley, in an amphitheatre formed 
by the Amatola, lay the village of Auckland. A more 
romantic and beautiful situation cannot be imagined, but 
the site was bad for defensive purposes. The rich land, the 
winding stream, the cascades that came tumbling over the 
cliffs behind, the patches of dark evergreen forest on the 
slopes, the grey rock towering far overhead, all gave beauty, 
but not strength. Behind and on each side the mountains 
were almost too steep to be scaled, while in front a low 
ridge extending nearly across the valley entirely shut out 
the view. Auckland was so secluded that the villagers could 
not see the smoke of Woburn, and so situated that escape 
was impossible from a foe coming up the valley. 

No danger was apprehended by the doomed people, who 
were not at their usual work in the forest or in the fields, 
«s it was Christmas day. When the Kaffirs made their 
appearance no alarm was felt, as they had often visited the 
village in large parties before. Their leader, Xayimpi by 
name, a counsellor and captain under Oba, was very well 
known to every one at the place. He sat down, and began 
to ask in the usual manner for different things, a visitor 
of this kind being always a persistent beggar. His 
followers spread themselves about the village without causing 
any suspicion. A Hottentot woman arrived a little later, 
and stated that as she was coming over the ridge she saw 
thick smoke rising from Woburn, still no one imagined what 
had caused it. Mr. Farquhar Munro was at the time 
acting superintendent of the village. He chatted a little 
with Xayimpi through an interpreter, and then left him 
talking to one of the residents' wives. All, whites and 
blacks, were in the open air on that clear sunny day. It 
was about two o'clock in the afternoon, when suddenly 
Xayimpi sprang to his feet, threw off his kaross, and whistled 
shrilly. The Kaffirs, on this signal, instantly attacked the 


98 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 S° 

defenceless people, and murdered the greater number of the 
men. The others managed to get their muskets and some 
ammunition, and with the women and children rushed to a 
dilapidated building, once intended to be a fort, where they 
defended themselves until three o'clock in the following 
afternoon. Then their ammunition failed, and they were 
at the mercy of the barbarians. The women and children, 
after being stripped nearly naked, were allowed to leave 
the place, but the men were cruelly murdered.* The 
village, after being plundered, was given to the flames. 
In all, on the Keiskama and the Tyumie, eighty-four 
lives were sacrificed to the fury of the Kaffirs during the 
first three days of the insurrection. 

On the western side of the valley, a couple of miles from 
Woburn, was the mission station Gwali, then occupied by 
the reverend Mr, Cumming. It was the oldest station among 
the Kaffirs, having been founded in 1820 by Mr. Brownlee 
for the colonial government. After its formation Gaika 
promised that it should be considered a sanctuary, and 
though it had been abandoned in previous wars, it now 
served as a secure retreat for all who could reach it. On 
Christmas day the reverend Mr. Niven arrived there with 
his family, also five European men, and the three soldiers of 
the Cape corps who had been sent up the valley in the 
morning with the notice of danger. Two of the men were 
naked when they reached the station, having been stripped 
by the Kaffirs, but not otherwise injured. On the following 
day the women and children from Auckland, some thirty in 
number, reached the place nearly naked, in great distress of 
mind, and half famished, having been over thirty hours 
without food. Once there, they were safe, and were sheltered 
by the missionary until they could leave without danger. 
The station was of necessity abandoned in February 1852, 

* Xayimpi was made a prisoner some years iater, but it was decided 
that under a proclamation issued by the governor on the conclusion of 
hostilities he could not be tried for these murders. In 1857, however, he 
was convicted of another offence, and was sentenced to imprisonment with 
hard labour for fourteen years. 

1850] The Eighth Kaffir War. 99 

when it was destroyed, and it has never since been 

At the time of these occurrences Sir Harry Smith was 
at Fort Cox, which was immediately besieged by the whole 
power of the enemy. On the 29th Colonel Somerset, with 
two hundred men of the 91st and the Cape corps, together 
with a party of Fingos, attempted to relieve the governor, 
but failed. After proceeding some six or seven miles from 
Fort Hare, he encountered such numbers of Kaffirs that he 
considered it necessary to retreat. When falling back, the 
patrol was vigorously pressed by the enemy, and the soldiers 
were seized with such a panic that they became incapable 
of resistance. Two officers and twentv men were killed, and 
if a party of the 45th had not been sent out to their relief, 
the whole of the rear guard would probably have been cut 
to pieces. On the 30th his Excellency resolved to liberate 
himself. At the head of two hundred and fifty Cape 
mounted riflemen he made a dash through the enemy, and 
succeeded in reaching King-Williamstown in safety. 

Many of the Kaffir police had by this time deserted, and 
had gone over to their countrymen with their arms and 
their horses. There is reason to believe that those who 
accompanied Colonel Mackinnon's expedition on the 24th 
would have done so at the Boomah pass, if their wives and 
children had not been at Fort Cox at the time. Two days 
later ninety of them deserted in a body, and these were 
followed by all the others, except fifty belonging to friendly 
clans who remained faithful throughout the rebellion. Then 
followed the usual accompaniment of a Kaffir war, a raid 
into the colony. Again the frontier districts were overrun 
and laid waste, the farmers being compelled to flee for their 
lives, leaving all they could not carry away to be destroyed. 

* The station Macfarlan, belonging to the free church of Scotland, is 
within a short distance of Gwali. It was founded for the benefit of the 
Fingos, who were located in the valley after the expulsion of the Xosas. 
For many years it was occupied by the reverend Alexander McDiarmid, 
hut since 1876 has been under the care of the reverend Elijah MaMwane, 
an African ordained clergyman of much talent and industry. 

ioo History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5° 

In this war the Amararabe were somewhat differently 
divided from what they had been in the past. The principal 
clans in arms against the colony were: the Gaikas, under 
Sandile, Makoma, Anta, and Oba ; the Imidange, under 
Tola ; the Amambala, under Stokwe ; and a few of the 
Imidushane, under Siyolo. Those that remained faithful 
to their promise of allegiance were : the Amagunukwebe, 
under Pato and Kama, the clan of the Amandlambe under 
Umkayi, and the clan of the Imidushane under Siwani. All 
these did good service on the English side. Pato kept the 
main road near East London open, and furnished escorts for 
waggon trains. Kama was of great assistance in the defence 
of Whittlesea. Umkayi was useful in bringing slaughter 
cattle from Fort Peddie to King-Williamstown, and Siwani 
conveyed the mails over the same line of road when it was 
closed to the ordinary posts. Umhala professed to be sitting 
still, hut many of his people were with the Gaikas. He 
took care of their own cattle and also of those which they 
brought out of the colony, in consequence of which Sir 
Harry Smith fined him a thousand head. Throughout the 
rebellion he acted a suspicious part, but was never openly 
in arms. Tshatshu undertook to keep open the road between 
King-Williamstown and Fort Murray. But many of his 
people were with the enemy, and his own behaviour was 
such that the governor deprived him of a portion of the 
ground which had been allotted to him in 1848. 

The remaining petty Rarabe clans, an enumeration of 
whose titles and chiefs would only cause confusion, were 
ranged, some on one side, some on the other, according to 
their location. All the clans along the Amatola and in the 
remaining portion of what was termed the Gaika country 
were in rebellion, while those on the seaboard were either 
neutral or were engaged on the colonial side. That none 
of those located along the coast took an active part in the 
rebellion was mainly owing to the judicious conduct of 
Captain John Maclean, commissioner with the Ndlambe clans^ 
who had acquired great influence with them. 

1850] The Eighth Kaffir War. 101 

The Galekas, under Kreli, were aiders and abettors of the 
insurgents. The Tembus were divided into two sections. 
One, under the government of Nonesi, great widow of Vusani, 
took no part in the war, and, to avoid becoming mixed up 
with it in any way, moved eastward to the Bashee. The 
other section — the emigrant Tembus under Mapasa — sided 
with the rebels. The Fingos without exception fought on 
the British side, 

But to the old enemies of the Europeans was now added 
a new ally, more formidable because better disciplined than 
they. The rebellion of a large number of Hottentots made 
this the most expensive and destructive of all the wars yet 
was:ed in South Africa. No reasonable cause for the treason 
of these people has ever been put forward by any of their 
number, though paltry excuses — such as the delay of the 
government to give them titles to their lands and inadequate 
payment for their services in former wars, — which turn to 
nothing when strictly investigated, have been made by a 
few Europeans on their behalf. They were on a perfect 
political equality with the white man, and had every induce- 
ment to remain loyal which the possession of liberty and 
complete protection of property could hold out. But they 
had heard so often that they were an oppressed people, 
and had been taught so carefully not to look to the govern- 
ment but to certain missionaries for advocacy of the redress 
of their supposed grievances, that they had become discon- 
tented and morose. The feeling was widespread among the 
colonists that agents of the London missionary society were 
accountable for the defection, though no one accused them 
of deliberately encouraging treason. That the doctrine of 
social equality, which some of them advocated, without 
reflecting upon the result to which it might lead, led to 
disaffection cannot be denied. The rebellion was a terrible 
lesson for them, and their successors have profited by the 
experience it afforded. While it was in progress, on the 8th 
of May 1852 the reverend James Read, senior, died at the 
BTat river, and since his death the old opinions, which did 

102 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5° 

so much harm to the coloured people, have rarely been 

Some of the Hottentots entered deliberately into treason, 
but others followed their leaders without thought until they 
were too deeply involved to withdraw. The residents at 
the London mission station Theopolis and most of those at 
the station of the same society at the Kat river joined the 
Gaikas, and a considerable number deserted from the Cape 
mounted rifle regiment and went over to the enemy. At 
the Moravian station Shiloh most of the residents were 
Bantu, but there were some Hottentots among them, and 
these were successfully tampered with by emissaries from 
the rebels of the Kat river. The missionaries had hoped 
they would aid in defending the station, and they did 
assist in building some walls round the church, but in 
February 1851 they showed such a rebellious spirit that 
the place had to be abandoned by the Europeans. There- 
upon it was plundered by the rebels, and then reduced to 
heaps of ruins. 

But this defection did not extend to the whole race. The 
conduct of the men of the Cape corps, with the exception 
of those who deserted at the outbreak of the rebellion, was 
satisfactory, and numerous Hottentot levies from the western 
districts — especially from Genadendal — rendered good service 
to the colony throughout the war. The congregation of the 
reverend Mr. Thomson at the Kat river also remained 

At a place called Blinkwater, in the vicinity of the Kat 
river settlement, there was living a man named Hermanus 
Matroos, who has been mentioned in a preceding chapter as 
assisting the government. He was the son of a Kaffir 
woman and a slave who had escaped from the colony. 
About him had collected a horde of Kaffirs and people of 
mixed Kaffir and Hottentot blood, who looked up to him as 
a sort of chief or leader. This man had received large 
grants of land from the government, but recently he had 
been compelled to pay quitrent, much against his will. 

1 851] The Eighth Kaffir War. 103 

Before the outbreak of the rebellion he became an active 
partisan of the Gaika chiefs, and served as a means of 
communication between them and the Hottentots. He was 
one of the principal instigators of the insurrection, but was 
so crafty that he avoided drawing suspicion upon his 
conduct. An application for arms and ammunition which he 
made to the authorities, to aid, as he averred, in defending 
the border, would have been granted if there had been any 
to spare. 

On the 7th of January 1851 with a horde of Kaffirs, 
Hottentots, and mixed breeds, he attacked the village of 
Fort Beaufort. A small garrison was stationed there, but 
the commanding officer thought it prudent to act on the 
defensive only, and remained in the military buildings to 
prevent the enemy gaining possession of them. The inhabi- 
tants, left thus to protect themselves and their property, 
acted in a most courageous manner. They met the 
assailants as became men to whom defeat meant certain 
destruction, and after a short but sharp action drove them 
from the village with a loss of fifty killed, including 
Hermanus himself. 

Among the pensioners from the Cape mounted riflemen 
was a man named Willem Uithaalder, who was possessed 
of considerable ability and great ambition. He had no 
wrongs to avenge, but he had conceived the idea of the 
formation of an independent Hottentot nation, with himself 
as its head. This man was chosen as their leader by the 
rebel Hottentots, and round him rallied over a thousand of 
that people, all of whom were accustomed to the use of 
firearms. Some of them rivalled the Kaffirs in deeds of 
cruelty. The people of Theopolis had been suspected of 
treasonable intentions, and several of them had been dis- 
armed shortly after the commencement of the rebellion, but 
they did not openly commit themselves until the end of 
May 1851. Very imprudently, some Fingos had been ad- 
mitted as residents of the station, and the Hottentots, who 
regarded them as intruders, bore them no good will. The 

104 History of the Cape Colony. t^S 1 

Fingos, by their avaricious habits in trade, were rapidly 
acquiring possession of all the movable property at the 
place, and the Hottentots, though improvident to the last 
degree, saw with alarm that the time was approaching when 
they would be completely impoverished by the thrifty and 
clever-dealing newcomers. The same feeling existed, in short, 
that so frequently manifests itself among the peasantry of 
Eastern Europe towards the alien moneylenders who manage 
to live upon their industry. Early one morning the 
Hottentots raised an outcry, and as the Fingos rushed out 
of their huts to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, the 
rebels shot them down in cold blood. 

The Kat river insurgents had taken possession of Fort 
Armstrong, and the first military movement on the govern- 
ment side was made to recover it. A strong force of 
burghers, levies, Cape mounted riflemen, and artillerymen 
with two guns, commanded by Major-General Somerset, 
attempted to do so on the 22nd of February 1851. The 
rebels resisted stubbornly, but after a severe engagement, 
in which three burghers were killed and fourteen wounded, 
they were driven out with heavy loss. 

For several months nothing else could be done to check 
the movements of the enemy. The governor called the loyal 
inhabitants, both European and coloured, to arms, but some 
time elapsed before an adequate force could be collected on 
the frontier. The troops were too few in number to 
commence active operations until reinforcements should 
arrive. Under these circumstances, the eastern portion of 
the colony was at the mercy of the insurgents. They made 
a second raid into it, driving off great herds of cattle, sheep, 
and horses, and burning and pillaging the country on their 
line of march. Still, thev met with several small reverses. 
The Tembus repeatedly attacked the village of Whittlesea, 
and were always driven back with loss. A good many 
Gaikas fell also in several petty engagements. 

When intelligence reached Zululand that the Xosas and 
emigrant Tembus were at war with the Europeans, Panda 

*%$i] The Eighth Kaffir War. 105 

offered the government the services of his army. His 
soldiers were weary of peace, and longed to use their weapons 
again. Those internal commotions which a few years later 
led to fearful bloodshed were beginning to show themselves, 
and the old chief, who was sufficiently sagacious to perceive 
that a foreign war was the readiest means of diverting the 
people's attention from domestic affairs, was anxious to make 
use of the opportunity. There can be no doubt that a Zulu 
army would speedily have swept the Xosas and Tembus out 
of existence, but even if humanity had not forbidden its use, 
prudence dictated the inadvisability of bringing such a force 
to the colonial frontier. Panda's offer was therefore declined 
with thanks. 

It was impossible to bring the enemy to a pitched battle, 
but towards the close of the year the different forests and 
jungles which they occupied were scoured, several of their 
strongholds were stormed, and many of their warriors were 
killed. The object of the governor was to force the Gaikas 
to retire over the Kei, but the area in which hostilities were 
carried on was so large that his efforts were fruitless. When 
driven out of one forest they took refuge in another, and as 
soon as the first was left by their pursuers they returned to 
it again. Most of their own cattle, together with those they 
had taken from the colonists, had been driven across the 
Kei and placed under the charge of Kreli. 

In December 1851 two columns of troops were directed to 
that quarter, with the double object of punishing Kreli and 
depriving the rebels of their sources of supply. One of these 
columns, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Eyre, of the 
73rd regiment, was crossing the lower ford of the Kei when 
it was attacked by the enemy, who had constructed breast- 
works to defend the passage of the river. A smart engage- 
ment followed, in which the soldiers were victorious, but so 
stubbornly were they met that more than a hundred of 
their opponents were killed before the remainder would 
retreat. The troops then scoured Kreli's country, doing 
great damage to the crops and kraals, and on several 

io6 History of the Cape Colony. L l8 5 2 

occasions repulsing the Galekas with considerable loss. On 
the 11th of January 1852 the principal column, under Major- 
General Somerset, returned to King-Williamstown with thirty 
thousand head of cattle, besides a few horses and fourteen 
thousand goats. The other column left Butterworth on the 
14th, and brought out seven thousand Fingos with fifteen 
thousand head of cattle which these people had seized from 
the Galekas, and were allowed to retain for themselves. 

Christmas eve was kept in the colony as a day of solemn 
humiliation and prayer before God, in respect of His judg- 
ment of war upon the land. On this day the Tembus were 
defeated by a burgher force, when a great number fell, and 
some fine herds of cattle, horses, and sheep, as well as 
several stand of firearms, were captured. 

Very few burghers had hitherto taken the field, as those 
of the eastern districts dared not leave their property 
unprotected, and those of the west had not been called 
out. Some volunteer companies had been formed and had 
done good service, but hostilities were carried on mainly by 
regular troops and Fingo and Hottentot levies. On the 6th 
of February 1852 the governor called upon the farmers of the 
frontier districts to assemble in commandos and assist in 
expelling the rebels from their fastnesses, but to this appeal 
only a small number responded, who in March aided in 
clearing the Waterkloof. Various causes have been assigned 
for the unwillingness of the burghers to take the field at 
this time, chief among which was that the Fingos were 
likely to reap all the benefit, while the white men were to 
sustain the danger and the loss. 

The wreck of the steam transport Birkenhead, rendered 
memorable by the heroism of the soldiers on board, was 
one of the saddest events of this year. She was conveying 
reinforcements from Simon's Bay to the seat of war, when 
at two o'clock in the morning of the 26th of February, 
while steaming eight knots and a half an hour, she struck 
suddenly on a sunken rock off Danger Point, well away 
from the land,, and tore open a great hole in her bottom. 

1852] The Eighth Kaffir War. 107 

The water rushed in so rapidly that many soldiers were 
drowned in their hammocks in the main hold. The others 
rushed on deck, where under the orders of Major Seaton, 
of the 74th, they drew up in as good order as if they had 
been on parade. 

Two of the quarter boats were got out, in which seven 
women and thirteen children — all that were on board — with 
as many men as they could contain, embarked, and stood 
out to sea. The gig was also got out, and nine men 
embarked in her, who reached the land safely about thirty 
miles from the wreck. Twenty minutes after she struck the 
Birkenhead went to pieces. Part of the hull with the 
mainmast remained on the rock, and some forty or fifty 
men clung to the rigging. The others tried to get to the 
shore on pieces of wreckage, through a sea infested with 
sharks. At nine o'clock in the morning the two quarter 
boats were so fortunate as to fall in with the coasting 
schooner Lioness, when the people in them were taken on 
board, and the schooner proceeded to the wreck and rescued 
the men who were still in the rigging. One hundred and 
sixteen souls from the lost transport, most of them nearly 
naked, were then crowded together in the little craft, which 
was shortly afterwards taken in tow by the steamship 
Rhadamanthus and brought into Simon's Bay. Of those 
who attempted to get to the shore on pieces of wreckage, 
sixty-eight reached it alive, though more or less bruised ; 
but all the others — nine officers and three hundred and 
forty-nine soldiers, with seventy-nine of the ship's crew — 

On the 14th of January 1852 Earl Grey recalled Sir 
Harrv Smith, as he was not satisfied with the manner in 
which the war was being conducted, and thought it might 
speedily be brought to a close. Lieutenant-General the 
honourable George Catlicart was appointed to succeed him, 
and left England for that purpose as soon as possible. At 
the same time Mr. Charles Henry Darling was appointed 
lieutenant-governor, and Major-General Yorke second in 

108 Histoiy of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5 2 

command of the troops. On tbe 31st of March the new 
governor arrived and took the oaths of office. Mr. Darling 
and General Yorke had arrived on the 24th. 

Leaving the lieutenant-governor in Capetown to carry on 
the administration, General Cathcart embarked in the 
steamship Styx on the 5th of April, and reached King- 
Williamstown by way of East London a little before 
midnight on the 9th. Sir Harry Smith had already, on 
the 7th, bidden the troops farewell, and after a long 
interview with his successor, he left for Capetown. On the 
17th of April he embarked in the steam frigate Gladiator to 
return to England. The whole population of the city and 
its suburbs assembled to bid godspeed to the man who had 
ever given his best thoughts to the welfare of South Africa, 
and who was now recalled for not doin^ what was 
impossible. Lady Smith was in tears, but the brave old 
general bore himself calmly until he was on board the 
Gladiator, when he retired at once to his cabin and broke 
down. His fault was being half a century in advance of 
his time. At six o'clock in the morning of the 18th the 
ship steamed out of the bay, and the connection of the able 
and popular governor with the country was ended. 

At this time iSandile was still in possession of his old 
haunts in the Amatola. Makoma, with two or three 
thousand followers of his own, together with numerous 
rebel Hottentots and a band of Tembus, occupied the 
Kroome mountains, within the colonial boundary. From 
these fastnesses bands of marauders were continually 
harassing the country even as far distant as Cradock and 
Somerset. Siyolo, Stokwe, and Tola, aided also by rebel 
Hottentots and Tembus, held the jungles of the Fish river 
and nearly the whole of the division of Victoria East. 
Their bands were frequently swooping down upon the 
divisions of Fort Beaufort and Albany, carrying off all they 
could get hold of, and then retiring to their fastnesses so 
speedily as to defy pursuit. Umlanjeni was at the height 
of his glory, for the crops of maize and millet which had 

1852] The Eighth Kaffir War. 109 

been cut down by the troops early in the season had sprung 
up again, and he asserted that this was a miracle performed 
by himself. The Kaffirs believed him and were elated. 
The Tembus north of the Amatola were not yet entirely 
subdued, though they had been so far crushed that it was 
only owing to the presence of some rebel Hottentots among 
them that a difficulty remained in settling matters there. 
The farmers of Albert and Cradock were, however, still 
exposed to frequent inroads from parties of these marauders. 

On the Galekas very little impression had yet been made. 
After the evacuation of his country by the troops in January, 
Kreli professed to be anxious for peace. He was informed 
by Sir Harry Smith that if he would pay fifteen hundred 
head of cattle as a fine for his destruction of mission and 
other property and as a mark of good faith, and would 
further cease from sheltering and aiding the Gaikas, he 
would not again be molested. But these terms he declined 
with disdain. Soon afterwards he took part in a raid into 
the colony, but was met by Captain Tylden at the head 
of a large force of burghers and levies, and was driven 
back with great loss. Still he continued to be defiant, 
treating the governor's very moderate demands with scorn. 
Uithaalder seemed to be ubiquitous. He had his followers 
thoroughly organised and under control. He assumed the 
title of general, and sent word to the British commander 
that he was prepared to fight or make peace on equal terms. 
The troops were worn out by fifteen months of harassing 
guerilla warfare, and needed some repose. Especially, the 
cavalry horses were so thin as to be incapable of performing 
duty. A few weeks rest was necessary. 

During this interval Sir George Cathcart was arranging 
for a vigorous campaign. At the outbreak of hostilities 
there were only four regiments — the 6th, 73rd, and the 
reserve battalions of the 45th and the 91st — in South Africa, 
the rifle brigade having left for England in June 1850. 
Earl Grey had not only refused to compty with Sir Henry 
Pottinger's request that he should ask the imperial parliament 

Ho History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5 2 

to compensate the sufferers in the preceding war, but on 
the 31st of March 1848 had instructed Sir Harry Smith 
"distinctly (to) warn all those portions of the public whom 
it may concern not to expect that any new war can be 
carried on at the expense of this country" (i.e. Great 
Britain). It was not then anticipated that hostilities 
would break out before the introduction of representative 
government, when the colonists might reasonably be expected 
to protect their own inland borders. And now, in the time 
of need, aid was liberally furnished. In May 1851 the 74th 
highlanders arrived, in August the 2nd and 12th regiments 
of the line, in September the 60th rifles, in October the 12th 
lancers, and in December the 43rd foot. These were followed 
in March 1852 by the first battalion of the rifle brigade, 
the same that had left the colony twenty-one months before. 
The governor had thus eleven British regiments, besides 
artillerymen, engineers, and the reformed Cape corps at his 
disposal. Another addition to the force which, though 
small, must be mentioned, was a party of volunteers, enrolled 
in Capetown on military pay, under command of Mr. (after- 
wards Sir) Stephen B. Lakeman,* that arrived on the frontier 
in June 1852, and performed good service until the conclusion 
of hostilities. 

As much of this force as could be spared from garrison 
duty was formed into two divisions, one, under command of 
Major-General Yorke, to whom it was intended to assign 
the duty of clearing the Amatola, the other, under command 
of Major-General Somerset, who was to be entrusted with 
the task of blockading the Kroome mountains and driving 
Makoma from the Waterkloof and other fastnesses there, 
which that chief had hitherto held with the utmost tenacity, 
though they had been scoured again and again. These 
arrangements were, however, subsequently considerably 

* Sir Stephen Lakeman, in the spirit of adventure, subsequently entered 
the Turkish service, in which he acquired greater distinction than in the 
Kaffir war t 

1852] The Eighth Kaffir War. 11 1 

Th6 governor saw that it was useless to drive the enemy 
out of any stronghold, unless it could be permanently held 
afterwards. There could be no such thing as territory left 
vacant in warfare like this. But forts such as had been 
constructed hitherto in South Africa were very expensive — 
Fort Hare, for instance, had cost £8,600 — and they required 
half a regiment at least to garrison them. They were built 
as if they were intended to stand a siege by regular troops 
provided with cannon, whereas something far simpler would 
answer the purpose equally as well against such enemies as 
the Kaffirs. He resolved therefore, as soon as a mountain 
stronghold was cleared, to build several small defensible 
turrets in commanding positions, and to surround them with 
stone walls in such a manner that a large party could take 
shelter under them. Stores could then be kept there in 
safety under a guard of fifteen or twenty men, while the 
surrounding country could be constantly patrolled. Though 
these redoubts cost but little, they were found to answer in 
every respect the purpose for which they were designed. 

Sir Harry Smith had made King-Williamstown his centre 
of operations, from which he had worked in both directions; 
the new commander-in-chief made Fort Beaufort his head 
quarters, and determined to work forward from that base. 

There had hitherto been a large expenditure in organising 
coloured levies and keeping such forces in the field. Horses, 
arms, clothing, rations for themselves and their families, 
liberal pay, and a share of captured cattle, were demanded 
by the levies, and though they did not always receive as 
much as they thought they were entitled to, the expense 
of keeping them in the field was very great. Sir George 
Cathcart determined to reduce the number of these auxiliaries, 
and to employ in their stead a force of armed and mounted 
European police, the efficiency of which became at once 
apparent. The men of this service provided themselves 
with food, clothing, horses, and equipments, ammunition only 
being supplied by the government. They were ready to 
move jat a moment's notice, and proved themselves most 

ii2 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5 2 

admirably adapted for South African warfare. This force 
was raised in the imperial service, and was paid by England 
until April 1853, when it was greatly reduced in number 
and was taken over by the government of the colony. In 
the course of a few weeks seven hundred and fifty men 
were enrolled in it at 5s. Qd. a day, and thereafter 
the frontier districts were kept comparatively free of 

The colony being thus protected, on the 1st of July the 
governor called upon the burghers of the frontier districts to 
meet at the Imvani on the 6th of August, and aid in an 
invasion of Kreli's country. He closed the proclamation 
by stating that if the colonists would not help themselves, 
the troops would very likely be withdrawn. As many 
burghers as were required assembled at the time and place 
appointed, and at their head and aided by some regulars 
he crossed the Kei, burnt Kreli's principal kraal, and 
captured ten thousand head of cattle. This campaign 
brought the Galeka chief to terms, and thereafter he was 
most anxious for peace. 

During the month of September the Kroome mountains 
were thoroughly cleared, and forts were erected in such 
positions that they could not be reoccupied by the enemy. 
Makoma, who had held these fastnesses for twenty-one 
months despite the exertions of the troops, now fell back 
upon the Amatola forests, where he joined the other rebel 
chiefs. He was followed at once by such a force that 
within a fortnight these strongholds also were cleared and 
dotted over with military posts. The power of the insur- 
gents was by these means completely broken. On the 9th 
of October Siyolo, in whose country Tamacha Post had been 
established, gave up the contest by surrendering with forty 
attendants to Colonel Maclean at Fort Murray. His example 
was followed by those of the Tembu chiefs who were still 
living. The others were seeking places of concealment, their 
followers having dispersed either among the Galekas or the 
neutral clans. 

1853J The Eighth Kaffir War. 113 

A reward of £500 and a free pardon was offered to any- 
one who would apprehend Uithaalder, and £50 for any of 
his subordinate leaders, dead or alive ; the remainder of the 
Hottentot rebels were assured that their lives would be 
spared if they would surrender at once. Most of them 
gave themselves up, and were sentenced to short terms of 

A settlement of the Tembus was next effected. A tract 
of country to the westward of the Indwe, since called the 
Glen Grey location, was reserved for their use. Nonesi 
was invited to return with her people and occupy it. Mr. 
J. C. Warner was placed tbere as the representative of 
government, and found no difficulty in preserving order and 
maintaining his own supremacy. All the remaining lands 
that had previously been occupied by the emigrant Tembus 
were forfeited. The clans of this tribe that were engaged 
in the war had been nearly exterminated, Mapasa, their 
principal chief, had been killed, and now the survivors 
were permitted to disperse among the followers of Nonesi. 

The pursuit of a few wretched fugitives being all that 
remained to be done, in November the governor withdrew 
two thousand five hundred of the troops for an expedition 
to Basutoland. He accompanied them in person, and it was 
only after his return to the colony that steps were taken 
for the final settlement of affairs on the eastern border. 
In February 1853 peace was formally concluded with Kreli. 
He had previously paid the larger portion of the fine imposed 
upon him, and the remainder was now remitted. 

In the mean time the Rarabe chiefs with a few devoted 
followers, hunted from place to place, had fled across the 
Kei. From their retreat on the Tsomo Sandile, acting for 
all, despatched two messengers to Pato, and begged him to 
intercede for them with Colonel Maclean. The messengers 
were to say their strength was gone, they were beaten and 
driven from their country, and only asked that a place 
might be assigned to them where they could rest in peace. 
On the 13th of February 1853 Mali and Mani reached Fort 


H4 History of the Cape Colony. ^853 

Murray with this word from their chief, which was immedi- 
ately communicated to the governor. Enquiries made during 
the next fortnight tended to show that they were in earnest 
in tendering their submission, as they were to all appear- 
ance in desperate circumstances. On the 2nd of March the 
governor issued a proclamation, granting pardon to the rebels, 
upon condition of the surrender of their arms and future 
good behaviour. 

Seven days afterwards a meeting took place at the 
Yellowwoods, six miles from King - Williamstown. The 
chiefs had hastened back from the Tsomo upon learning 
the governor's clemency, and nothing more remained to be 
done but to make arrangements for their location. Sandile, 
Makoma, Anta, Oba, Stokwe, and Tola, were there. They 
were informed that the country along the Amatola moun- 
tains was forfeited for ever, and that any of them found 
there would be dealt with summarily under martial law, 
but that the large tract of open land from the Kei to the 
great northern road, between Umhala's location and the 
Thomas river, was theirs to occupy as long as they 
conducted themselves peaceably, and that they were at 
liberty to govern their people according to their own laws 
and customs. 

With this scene, — the brave soldier, who was so soon 
thereafter to fall at Inkerman, granting in the name of his 
sovereign pardon to the fallen chiefs, and they, warm in 
expressions of gratitude and loyalty, but at heart as 
disinclined as ever to submit to civilised rule,— the great 
rebellion terminated. It had ruined its instigators and 
many hundreds of colonists. It had cost Great Britain 
upwards of two millions sterling and the lives of four or 
five hundred soldiers. Among those who fell were several 
men of distinguished ability and high position. There 
was no braver officer in the British service than Colonel 
Fordyce, of the 74th, who lost his life on the 6th 
of November 1851. in one of the numerous skirmishes in 
the Waterkloof. 

1853] The Eighth Kaffir War. 115 

Umlanjeni and Uithaalder remained at large, but were 
powerless for evil. The former sank into contempt, became 
an object of derision to his own people, and died on the 
28th of August 1853, a few months after the restoration of 
peace. Uithaalder wandered about an outcast beyond the 
border, and on the 8th of April 1865 committed suicide. 

Arrangements were now made which greatly altered the 
relative position of the frontier clans to each other. The 
Christian chief Kama had a large and fertile tract of land 
along the eastern bank of the Keiskama given to him in 
reward for his services against the Tembus, and his clan 
being joined by numerous refugees from others soon 
became powerful. The Gaikas, having lost most of their 
cattle as well as the rich valleys of the Amatola, were poor 
and weak. The Fingos had some of the choicest lands in 
the country allotted to them, the best portions of the 
Tyumie and upper Keiskama valleys, as well as extensive 
locations farther north, being added to their former 
possessions. The forfeited Gaika territory was retained as 
a government reserve. 

A large part of the forfeited Tembu lands north of the 
Amatola range was given to European settlers. Farms, not 
exceeding four thousand acres in extent, were surveyed 
there, and offered to colonists under a system of military 
tenure. A land commission was appointed, to which applica- 
tions for grants were sent in, and from the list of names 
the most suitable were selected. Young men who were 
possessed of some property and- had been active in the 
defence of the frontier had a preference in the allotment 
of these farms. They were bound to reside on their grants, 
to arm themselves efficiently, and to maintain an armed man 
for every thousand acres over the first thousand of which 
their farms consisted. Under these conditions the district 
was at once occupied by a class of men well qualified to 
defend it. The portion of the forfeited territory allotted to 
Europeans contained about four hundred farms, and there 
were at least three times as many applicants. 

116 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 53 

Tracts of land at Lesseyton, Kamastone, Oxkraal, and 
Windvogelberg were set apart for the use of Fingos and 
other blacks who had fought on the British side. The 
strip of country known as the Bontebok flats was left 
unoccupied for a time. It adjoins the Amatola, but on 
account of there being no wood upon it and its being 
exposed to cold winds in winter, it was not coveted as a 
place of residence by either whites or blacks. It forms, 
however, an excellent grazing ground in summer for sheep 
and cattle, for which purpose it has since been used. The 
forfeited Tembu territory received the name of the division 
of Queenstown. The farms were held under military tenure 
until 1868, when an act was passed by which the grantees 
were released from their obligations, on the ground that 
such burdensome conditions were no longer necessary. From 
that date land in this and in the other frontier divisions 
has been held under the ordinary quitrent tenure of the 

A village was established in an excellent situation on the 
Komani river, — a feeder of the Kei, — on a plain where 
abundance of water could be led out, and where superior 
building material was plentiful. The plan of Queenstown 
differs from that of other colonial villages, where the streets 
run commonly at right angles with each other. From an 
open space in the centre, called the Hexagon, its streets 
radiate to different points of the compass, an arrangement 
which was adopted to facilitate defence. Fifty building 
allotments, half an acre in size, were sold on its establish- 
ment for £4 10s. each, on condition of being built upon 
immediately, fifty others were sold at £7 10s. each, on 
condition of being enclosed, sites were granted free for 
Episcopal and Wesleyan churches, and ten acres were pre- 
sented to the Dutch reformed congregation, with a view of 
inducing them to build a place of worship there. The growth 
of Queenstown was extremely rapid, as its position in the 
centre of a fertile district fully occupied and on the great 
northern road from East London, from which it is about a 

1853] The Eighth Kaffir Wai\ 117 

hundred and forty miles distant, gave it great commercial 

In Victoria East, after the Fingos had received ample 
grants, there remained much unoccupied land. Of this, a 
large portion was in the hands of speculators, who had been 
enabled before the rebellion to purchase extensively, under 
regulations then in force, which required all crown lands to 
be sold to the highest bidder at public auction. What 
remained was now laid out in farms and granted to settlers 
under military tenure, the same as in the Queenstown 

The forfeited lands of the rebel Hottentots at the Kat 
river were given to European settlers. A new village, named 
Seymour, — after Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Seymour, who 
was Sir George Cathcart's military secretary, and who after- 
wards fell at Inkerman, — was laid out at Eland's Post, on 
one of the sources of the Kat river, and the magistrate of 
the district of Stockenstrom was stationed there. Its 
situation is pleasant, but, not being on any of the great 
routes of commerce, it has not risen to much importance. 

In October 1852 Colonel Mackinnon had resigned the 
situation of chief commissioner in British Kaffraria, and had 
been succeeded by Colonel Maclean, previously commissioner 
with the Ndlambe clans. A very simple form of government 
was in force in the province, there being as yet only about 
twelve hundred Europeans, exclusive of the military, 
resident there. The Kaffirs were governed directly by their 
own chiefs. 

The missionaries resumed their labours, and rebuilt their 
stations. That their early exertions had not been fruitless 
was evident from the fact that fifteen hundred Bantu pro- 
fessing Christianity had refused to rebel at the bidding of 
Umlanjeni, and had taken refuge at King-Williamstown, 
where they remained while the war lasted, without a single 
charge of any kind being brought against one of them. 





{continued) . 





The colonists had for many years been desirous of having a 
voice in their government, and petitions to that effect had 
frequently been sent to England. These had not been 
acceded to, because the imperial authorities were of opinion 
that representative institutions might not work well in a 
country inhabited by different European nationalities that 
had not yet coalesced, and where a large proportion of the 
population consisted of people very low in the scale of 
civilisation. There was another reason, in the fact that the 
colonists were by no means unanimous as to the form most 
desirable for the future government of the country. In the 
west, generally speaking, the people desired that the colony 
should remain one and indivisible, and that a single 
representative chamber should be established. In the east, 
the British settlers, or at least a majority of them, desired a 
separate government framed after the English model, or, if 
that could not be obtained, removal of the seat of adminis- 
tration from Capetown to Grahamstown. For the most 
important question to be settled in South Africa was the 

1 18 

1848] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 119 

mode of dealing with the Kaffirs, and in their opinion a 
strong executive was imperatively needed near the border. 

Correspondence on this subject between the successive 
secretaries of state and the different governors was without 
result before the ministry of Lord John Eussell came into 
power, in July 1846. Then an inclination was shown to 
confer the boon of representative institutions upon the 
Cape dependency, and Earl Grey, who held the seals of the 
colonial department, announced that in his opinion "some 
difficulties might be wisely encountered, and some apparent 
risks well incurred, in reliance on the resources which every 
civilised society, especially every society of British birth or 
origin, will always discover within themselves for obviating 
the danger incident to measures resting on any broad and 
solid principle of truth and justice." Sir Henry Pottinger 
was therefore instructed to make a full report upon the 
subject, and as he was unable to do so, owing to his early 
departure for India, his successor was entrusted with the 

The attorney- general, Mr. William Porter, was directed 
by Sir Harry Smith to prepare for his consideration " such 
a general plan as would appear to secure the greatest 
number of the advantages, and shun the greatest number 
of the inconveniences, incidental to the contemplated change 
of system." When this was done, on the 21st of March 
1848 Mr. Porter's draft and the earlier documents were 
submitted to the members of the executive council and the 
three judges, with a request that each of them should draw 
up a report giving his opinion upon the matter. 

In these reports the opinion was unanimously expressed 
that an immediate change in the form of government was 
desirable, inasmuch as the colonists had lost all confidence 
in the existing legislative council, and it was with difficulty 
that competent men could be induced to accept the position 
of unofficial members of it. They were unanimous also in 
the opinion that no danger was to be apprehended from any 
rivalry between the Dutch and English sections of the 

120 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5° 

population, whose interests were identical, and that there 
was not the slightest cause to fear that any attempt would 
be made by an elected body to oppress the coloured people. 
They were all opposed to the division of the colony into 
two, as such a measure would tend to weakness, and as the 
estimated wealth of the whole eastern province was less 
than that of the Cape peninsula alone, a separate adminis- 
tration would be beyond its means to bear. They concurred 
in opinion that Capetown should remain the seat of 
government, as containing one-tilth of the inhabitants of 
the country, and therefore less inconvenience would be 
experienced in sending representatives of the country 
districts there than in sending representatives from it to 
any other place. 

With the exception of the chief justice, all of the framers 
of these reports favoured a legislative council composed of 
officials and unofficial members appointed by the crown 
and a house of assembly elected by the people. Sir John 
Wylde alone was of opinion that the legislative council 
should contain some elected members, in order that it 
might command the confidence of the people. In other 
matters, such as the qualifications of members and the 
franchise, there was a divergence of view, but not to any 
serious extent. 

Mr. Porter was then requested to frame a constitution 
based upon these documents, in order that the imperial 
authorities might make any alterations in it they should 
think advisable, and that it might then be confirmed by an 
order in council. On the 29th of July 1848 Sir Harry 
Smith, who was himself strongly in favour of the measure, 
forwarded the whole of the previous papers and Mr. Porter's 
draft constitution to Earl Grey to be dealt with. 

The matter was then referred to the lords of the 
committee of council for trade and foreign plantations, who 
made an exhaustive study of it, and on the 19th of January 
1850 drew up a very able report. They recommended the 
grant of a constitution more liberal than that possessed by 

i&5°] Grant of a Liberal Constitution, 121 

any other British colony, with an elected legislative council 
as well as a house of assembly. Their object in pro- 
posing an elected rather than a nominated council was to 
create " a body of real weight and influence, commanding 
the respect and confidence of the public," and they 
observed that as the existing nominated legislative council, 
"even while it exercised the whole power of legislation had 
little hold over public opinion, such a body would cease to 
have any real weight or influence when it came to be over- 
shadowed by so substantial a power as that of an assembly 
elected by the people." They recommended that letters 
patent should be issued containing only the main and 
leading provisions of the constitution, and that power should 
be given to the existing legislative council to pass ordinances, 
subject to her Majesty's approbation, for regulating all the 
subordinate arrangements, of which they were of opinion 
that as large a share as possible should be thus left to be 
determined on the spot. 

Their report was laid before the queen in council on the 
30th of January 1850, and being approved of, on the 23rd 
of May letters patent were issued providing that there 
should be an elected legislative council presided over by the 
chief justice of the colony and an elected house of assembly, 
that the two houses might be dissolved by the governor at 
any time, or the house of assembly alone, but not the 
legislative council alone, and leaving all details to be 
arranged by the local legislature and submitted to her 
Majesty for approval or alteration. 

According to a notice issued by Sir Harry Smith in 
March 1848, there should have been two sessions of the 
legislative council yearly, in May and October ; but for 
some time past there had been none at all, as owing to the 
anti-convict movement, as has been mentioned in a pre- 
ceding chapter, five of the unofficial members had resigned, 
and other gentlemen to whom the seats were offered had 
declined to accept them. Sir Harry Smith was now 
desirous of filling up the vacancies with men who would 

122 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5° 

represent the true opinions of the people of the country, 
and with this view, by the advice of the executive council, 
on the 6th of May 1850 he issued a notice requesting the 
divisional road and municipal boards throughout the colony 
to transmit to the secretary to government with the least 
possible delay the names of the five persons whom they 
wished to see appointed. This was equivalent to an appeal 
to the country, but it was the only occasion on which the 
popular will was consulted before the elections to the first 
parliament, as the secretary of state did not express his 
approval of the proceeding. 

From the nominations of the different boards, on the 23rd 
of July the governor appointed Mr. Christoffel Josephus 
Brand, who had twenty-five votes, Sir Andries Stocken- 
strom, who came next with twenty- three, Mr. Francis 
William Reitz, who followed with twenty-one, Mr. John 
Fairbairn, who had nineteen, and Mr. Robert Godlonton, who 
had three votes. Mr. William Cock, who had not resigned 
his seat, was still a member. The unofficial element in the 
council consisted thus of two Dutch colonists and one 
English resident in Capetown to represent the western, and 
two British settlers and one Dutch colonist to represent the 
eastern province. The official element was wholly English. 

On the 6th of September 1850 the legislative council met. 
There were present the governor, Sir Harry Smith, who 
presided, the secretary to government, Mr. John Montagu, 
the auditor-general, Mr. William Hope, the collector of 
customs, Mr. William Field, the treasurer-general, Mr. Harry 
Rivers, the attorney-general, Mr. William Porter, and the six 
unofficial members named above. After the formal opening 
the governor read a minute in which he informed the 
members that one of the principal objects for which they 
had been called together was to pass an ordinance or 
ordinances for the government of the colony on liberal 
principles, with popular representation. 

Sir Andries Stockenstrom and Messrs. Brand, Reitz, and 
Fairbairn then objected to the appointment of Mr. Godlonton, 

l8 5°] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 123 

on the ground that nine votes had been recorded for Mr. 
J. H. Wicht, seven for Mr. J. J. Meintjes, and four for each 
of several others, whereas he had received only three. The 
governor asserted that he could appoint any one he chose, 
and the attorney-general stated that he had advised the 
selection of Mr. Godlonton instead of Mr. Wicht, in order 
that each of the provinces might have three representatives. 
The boards also which had nominated him were those of 
most important communities, one of them being that of 
Grahamstown, by which he had been named without a 
dissentient voice, so that he actually represented a greater 
number of individuals than Mr. Wicht would have done. 
The action of the objectors was not wholly disinterested, for 
their political opinions differed considerably from those of 
Mr. Godlonton, as enunciated in the Grahamstown Journal, 
of which newspaper he was the editor, and they would 
therefore have much preferred Mr. Wicht as a colleague. 
But the majority of votes was against them, so they were 
obliged to submit. 

The council immediately went into committee to discuss 
the details of the proposed constitution, the secretary to 
government acting as chairman. Some of the details con- 
cerning the franchise and the constitution of the house of 
assembly were agreed to, and then irreconcilable differences 
of opinion arose between the official members and Messrs, 
Godlonton and Cock on one side and Sir Andries Stocken- 
strom and Messrs. Brand, Reitz, and Fairbairn on the other 
regarding the qualifications for a seat in the upper house 
and the length of the term for which its members should be 
elected. The majority desired the qualification to be the 
possession of unencumbered landed property to the value of 
£2,000, and the lerjgth of the term to be ten years. The 
four members in the minority, who wanted a much more 
democratic council, declared they would regard a chamber so 
constituted as nothing but an oligarchy. In the course of 
the debate the secretary to government expressed an opinion 
that all the official members were bound to support any 

1 24 History of the Cape Colony. L* 8 5° 

measure resolved upon by the executive council, whether 
they approved of it or not, a statement which puts in a 
very clear light the value of a mixed official and nominee 
council. In every division the four members were outvoted. 
On the 20th of September some drafts of ordinances and 
the estimates for the current year were brought on by the 
government. The same four members objected to any 
business being taken in hand except the constitution ordi- 
nances, and upon a motion to proceed with the estimates being 
carried against them they resigned their seats. The council 
being thus made incompetent to proceed with business, for 
want of the requisite quorum, on the 23rd the governor 
appointed the five official members with Messrs. Godlonton 
and Cock a commission to consider and report on the best 
form of a representive legislature for the colony. 

The municipality of Capetown now requested the four 
gentlemen who had resigned, together with Mr. Jan Hendrik 
Wicht, to draft a constitution according to their views, to 
be taken to England by Sir Andries Stockenstrom and Mr. 
Fairbairn. It was hoped that as they had received the 
highest number of votes from the municipal and road boards, 
they would be regarded by the secretary of state as the true 
representatives of the colonists, and the constitution framed by 
them as what was generally desired. It was further intended 
to circulate petitions to be signed in its support. 

The document drawn up by these gentlemen provided for a 
house of assembly of forty-six members chosen for three 
years by twenty-two electoral divisions, namely the twenty 
existing fiscal divisions of the colony and the city of Grahams- 
town, each of which was to return two members, and the city 
of Capetown, which was to return four. The voting for 
this house was to be by word of mouth. There was to be a 
legislative council of fifteen members elected for four years by 
the whole colony as one constituency, the elections to take 
place by means of written papers containing any number of 
names not exceeding fifteen. The qualifications of members 
of the house of assembly were simply that they should be 

1850] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. • 125 

voters, those of members of the legislative council were the 
attainment of thirty years of age, residence of three years in 
the colony, and the possession of fixed property to the value 
of £l s 000. The legislative council, as well as the house of 
assembly, was to elect its own chairman or speaker. The 
secretary to government, the attorney-general, and the 
treasurer-general were to have the right of debate in both 
houses, but not of voting. The governor was not to have 
power to dissolve the house of assembly without dissolving 
the legislative council at the same time, and he was to call 
the parliament together at least once every year, so that 
twelve months should not elapse between two sessions. The 
qualification of voters for both houses was twelve months 
occupation of property valued at or above £25. 

On the 27th of October 1850 Mr. Fairbairn left Capetown 
for England with the draft of a constitution so framed and 
with numerous petitions in its favour. Sir Andries Stocken- 
strom, who was in delicate health and therefore feared a 
European winter, did not leave until the 22nd of March 
1851. On presenting himself at the colonial office, Mr. 
Fairbairn was received by Earl Grey as a private 
individual, but was distinctly informed that he could not 
be acknowledged in a representative character. He tried to 
press the approval of the draft constitution he had with 
him, without succeeding in obtaining any other reply than 
that Sir Harry Smith would be instructed how to act. He 
then, with Sir Andries Stockenstrom after the arrival of the 
latter, endeavoured to forward his views through the 
medium of the press, and secured the support of several 
members of the house of commons. 

On the 30th of September 1850 the official members of 
the legislative council and Messrs. Godlonton and Cock drew 
up the report required by the governor. In it the electoral 
franchise and the constitution of the house of assembly were 
the same as proposed by the other party, but there was a 
wide difference regarding the legislative council, That 
chamber they thought should consist of fifteen members, 

126 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 5° 

elected for ten years, except that the seven returned with 
the least number of votes at the first election should retire 
after five years, so that thereafter half of the whole body 
should be renewed at the end of every fifth year. The 
qualification of a member they fixed at possession of unen- 
cumbered landed property to the value of £2,000 or movable 
or mixed property to the value of £4,000, and he was 
required to be not under thirty years of age. The electors 
in each division were to vote for as many members as were 
needed, and those were to be returned who headed the poll 
in the greatest number of divisions. They advised that this 
chamber should choose its own president, and they objected 
to its dissolution separately from that of the house of 
assembly. Some other details were added, but were of 
trifling importance compared with the above. 

Here then was a very plain issue between the two 
parties, but even such a legislative council as that described 
did not satisfy the whole of the gentlemen who signed 
the report. Mr. Montagu and Mr. Rivers agreed to it 
because they felt themselves unable to vote against a 
decision of the imperial authorities, but they both drew up 
memoranda strongly favouring a council nominated for life 
by the crown. Mr. Montagu pointed out that violent party 
and race feeling had been aroused during the preceding two 
years, and he had come to the conclusion that the coloured 
people were really in need of protection from the farming 
population, whose representatives in the assembly would be 
in a majority. Mr. Porter was of opinion that a nominated 
upper house would have been preferable, but was now 
impossible, as an elected one had been promised. He 
suggested that the western province as one constituency 
should return eight members, and the eastern province in 
like manner seven. Mr. Field desired that at least one-third 
of the upper house should consist of official members, and 
Mr. Hope, though less resolute on this point, also favoured 
a nominee council. Sir Harry Smith, too, expressed to Earl 
Grey a very strong opinion in accordance with this feeling. 

1 851] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 127 

Messrs. Godlonton and Cock, on their part, were not opposed 
to an elected council, but desired the separation of the 
eastern province with a legislature and administration of 
its own, and protested in vigorous language against the 
seat of government remaining in Capetown if the colony 
continued to be one. 

All this was represented very fully to Earl Grey, who, 
however, felt indisposed to depart from the strict letter of 
the order in council, and consequently did not accept the 
report of the commission as meeting the case. Petitions 
from various parts of the colony were forwarded to him, 
mostly in favour of the constitution drawn up by Mr. 
Fairbairn and his associates, so that he could not but see 
that a nominee council would be objectionable to a very 
large party. 

Before anything further could be done, the Kaffir war 
commenced, the governor was obliged to remain on the 
frontier, many of the burghers were called to arms, and 
the condition of the colonv became such that the immediate 
introduction of representative government was impossible. 
Even Messrs. Godlonton and Cock dared not leave their 
homes. Under these circumstances, on the 13th of Mav 
1851 Earl Grey instructed Sir Harry Smith not to proceed 
with the constitution ordinance until a more convenient 
season, when the full number of unofficial members of the 
legislative council could be appointed ; and in the mean time 
he was empowered to carry on pressing business, such as 
passing the estimates, with a council of not less than six 
members exclusive of himself, ill which during his absence 
four were to form a quorum. 

When this became known in South Africa much dissatis- 
faction was expressed in different parts of the western 
province, and numerous petitions were forwarded to the 
queen, entreating her Majesty to grant representative institu- 
tions without further delay. From the east also petitions 
were sent, begging for separation or removal of the seat of 
government, and asserting that the deplorable condition of 

128 History of the Cape Colony. [185 1 

the province at the time was mainly due to the want of a 
strong executive on the spot. 

In London Sir Andries Stockenstrom a; I Mr. Fairbairn, 
through the medium of Mr. C. B. Adderley, made very 
strong representations to Lord John Russell on the subject 
of Earl Grey's instructions, and desired him to have the 
constitution they advocated, or one closely resembling it, 
passed at once by the imperial parliament. To prevent 
delay, they would even accept the introduction of the plan 
of the commission, but would endeavour to have it amended 
in the house of commons to meet their views. They 
submitted their case to three eminent lawyers, from whom 
they obtained an opinion that a council of reduced numbers, 
such as that they objected to, would be illegal and its acts 
invalid. Lord John Russell took a different view, but the 
question was set at rest by fresh instructions from Earl 
Grey to Sir Harry Smith, on the 30th of June 1851, to 
nominate four new unofficial members, and proceed with 
the general business of the colony as well as with the 
consideration of draft constitution ordinances which he would 
send out. 

The governor was unable to leave the frontier, so he 
directed Mr. Montagu to select qualified persons and convene 
the council. The gentlemen then chosen were Messrs. William 
Hawkins, Charles Arkcoll, and Ewan Christian, merchants 
of Capetown, and Mr. Benjamin Moodie, a f aimer of Swellen- 
dam. On the 10th of October 1851 the council — all the 
members of which were English—met, with Mr. Montagu 
as chairman. The new members were sworn in, after which 
some ordinances were introduced, and the council then 
adjourned to the 10th of November to allow of Messrs. 
Godlonton and Cock being present. The estimates and other 
ordinary business occupied the attention of the members 
until the 21st, when the draft ordinances for completing 
the constitution, which had just been received from England, 
were introduced. On the 28th they were read for the 
first time, and the second reading was set down for the 

1852] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 129 

28th of January 1852, in order to give an opportunity to 
the public throughout the country to express an opinion 
upon them. 

The first of these draft ordinances contained ninety clauses, 
and provided for the establishment of a legislative council 
to consist of the chief justice as president, eight members 
elected by the western, and seven elected by the eastern 
province. The members were to be over thirty years of 
age, and to be possessed of unencumbered landed property 
worth £1,000 or other property worth £2,000. They were 
to hold their seats for ten years, except that eight were to 
retire five years after the first election. The electors in the 
two constituencies could distribute their votes, or give all 
to one candidate, if they chose to do so. The voting for 
members of this house was to be in writing. Three members 
were to form a quorum. 

The house of assembly was to consist of forty-six members 
elected for five years. The voting for members of this 
house was to be by word of mouth. The qualification of a 
member was to be the same as that of an elector for either 
house, namely occupation for twelve months of property worth 
£25. The debates and proceedings in both houses were to be 
in the English language. 

The governor could dissolve both houses together, or the 
house of assembly by itself, but not the legislative council 
by itself. 

The secretary to government, attorney - general, treasurer, 
and auditor were to have the right of debate, but not of 
voting, in both houses. 

The remainder of the clauses were devoted to details, 
such as manner of registration, manner of conducting the 
elections, &c. 

The second draft ordinance merely provided for a reserved 
civil list. 

Some unavoidable delay took place, so that it was only on 
the 11th of February 1852 that the draft ordinances came 
before the council again for the second reading. All the 

VOL. III. 1 

130 History of the Cape Colony. [^52 

members were present except the governor and Mr. Cock, who 
were on the eastern frontier. 

Mr. Godlonton at once moved that the further consideration 
of the constitution ordinances be deferred till the close of 
the war. He was opposed to the low franchise, because it 
would admit as voters great numbers of the coloured people, 
many of whom were at that moment in open rebellion. But 
this question, he thought, could not then be discussed with 
safety, owing to the fact that there was almost a panic 
in the western districts, the farmers there fearing a general 
rising of the coloured people, and these, on their part, being 
apprehensive of danger if the franchise should be raised. 
The council had already been obliged to throw out an 
ordinance for the removal of squatters from crown lands, 
on account of the excitement which its discussion might 
cause. He was further opposed to the ordinances because 
they made no provision for the establishment of a government 
in the eastern province, a matter, in his opinion, of the first 

Captain Arkcoll seconded this motion, and all the members 
present except the chairman and Messrs. Porter and Hope 
supported it. 

Mr. Montagu then moved the adjournment of the dis- 
cussion until the governor's views could be ascertained, and 
this was carried, only Messrs. Porter and Hope, who desired 
to take the ordinances in hand without further delay, voting 
against it. 

The governor decided that the ordinances should be 
proceeded with at once as a government measure, and there- 
fore on the 1st of March they were brought on again. In 
the mean time numerous petitions were sent to England, most 
of them accepting with expressions of, gratitude the consti- 
tution at the stage then reached and praying that it might 
be put in operation without further delay, but others making 
various objections, and a very strong one from the eastern 
province asking that the seat of government should be 
established there. 

1852J Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 131 

On the 4th of March it was resolved to raise the number 
required to form a quorum in the legislative council from 
three to five, and in the house of assembly from seven to 
twelve. On the 9th the important question of the franchise 
came on for discussion. Mr. Hawkins moved, and Mr. 
Moodie seconded, a resolution raising it from the occupation 
for twelve months of a house worth £25 to occupation of a 
house with a yearly rental of £10, or possession of landed 
property worth £50, or receipt of a salary or wages yearly 
of £50 or of £25 with board and lodging. An animated 
discussion followed, in which Messrs. Porter, Field, and 
Hope warmly advocated the retention of the £25 franchise 
as fixed in the draft ordinance sent from England and 
accepted by the great majority of the colonists. They could 
see no danger in admitting the coloured people as electors, 
but feared rather that great disaffection might be caused by 
excluding them under such a franchise as that proposed. 
The other members were equally determined to prevent the 
coloured people from voting, if they could, and spoke 
strongly on the subject of their incapacity and of the 
likelihood of their being led in any direction by political 
agitators. One party pictured the cleanly, orderly, loyal 
resident at Genadendal, the result of seventy years careful 
training by the Moravian missionaries, as a representative 
of the coloured people in general ; the other party spoke 
of the drunken Hottentots at Grahamstown and the rebel 
miscreants of Theopolis and the Kat river as fair specimens 
of the voters that would be admitted under the low franchise. 
On the 10th the resolution was' carried by eight to three, 
Messrs. Montagu, Rivers, Christian, Moodie, Arkcoll, Haw- 
kins, Godlonton, and Cock voting for it, and Messrs. Porter, 
Field, and Hope against. 

On the 20th of March the qualification of a member of 
the legislative council was raised from the possession of 
unencumbered landed property worth £1,000, or of mixed 
or movable property worth £2,000, to possession of 
unencumbered landed property worth £2,000, or of mixed 

132 History of the Cape Colony. [1852 

or movable property worth £4,000, the division list being 
the same as on the subject of the franchise. On the 24th 
of March it was unanimously agreed that the election of 
the four members to represent the city of Capetown in the 
house of assembly should b? similar to that of members 
for tbe legislative council, that is that every voter could 
distribute his four votes as he chose, thus securing the 
representation of a minority. 

The other alterations made in the draft ordinances were 
unimportant, and on the 25th of April 1852 the completed 
documents were forwarded to England by Lieutenant- 
Governor Darling. In his covering despatch Mr. Darling 
strongly objected to the raising of the qualifications of 
voters. He considered that the £25 franchise "had been 
virtually promised by the local legislature to the inhabitants 
of the colony, that it had been sanctioned by Her Majesty's 
ministers as one of the details of that system of representa- 
tive government which had been accorded by Her Majesty's 
free grace, and that no adequate ground had been assigned 
for breaking a pledge thus solemnly given." 

The long delay that had taken place in establishing a 
parliament was not to end with the completion of the 
ordinances. On the 27th of February 1852 the ministry of 
Lord John Russell retired from office, and the earl of 
Derby succeeded as premier, with Sir John Pakington as 
secretary of state for the colonies. The new secretary, while 
declaring "that the gracious intention long since expressed 
by Her Majesty of granting to the colony of the Cape 
representative institutions ought to be carried into effect 
at the earliest possible period, consistent with a due con- 
sideration of the various difficulties with which the progress 
of events has surrounded the subject/' really did nothing to 
expedite the matter. For some months all parties in the 
colony were quiet; waiting for intelligence from England, 
but after a time the people of the west became uneasy, and 
the belief gained ground that if a constitution were granted 
at all, it would be much less liberal than the one they 

1 &5 2 ] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 133 

desired. On the 1st of May 1852 Mr. Montagu had left 
Capetown for England in ill health, and it was feared by 
the western party, with whom he was very unpopular, that 
he was exerting influence in favour of a nominated legislative 

On the 8th of October 1852 there was a public meeting 
in Capetown, with Mr. Johannes Joaquim Lodewyk Smuts, a 
gentleman of great influence with the country people, in the 
chair, when it was resolved unanimously that " as the 
information received by the late mail steamers respecting 
the constitution granted to this colony by Her Majesty's 
letters patent of May 1850 is highly unsatisfactory ; and as 
there is every reason to believe that Her Majesty's present 
advisers contemplate to propose a bill to parliament for the 
purpose of altering those letters patent, by introducing a 
nominated instead of an elective legislative council as now 
guaranteed ; and as any such alteration will vitiate the 
constitution, the colonists having moreover determined not tc 
accept but to repudiate the same, this meeting resolves that 
a committee be appointed to prepare an address and petition 
to the parliament and people of Great Britain for the 
purpose of duly representing all the circumstances in 
reference to this matter, and of obtaining the speedy com- 
pletion of the details of a constitution in terms and in the 
spirit of Her Majesty's letters patent of May 1850." As 
members of the committee Sir Andries Stockenstrom and 
Messrs. J. J. L. Smuts, John Fairbairn, C. J. Brand, J. H. 
Wicht, J. de Wet, A. N. Changuion, H. C. Jarvis, J. M. 
Maynard, and P. J. Denyssen, and Drs. C. Fleck and 
Abercrombie were chosen. 

This was followed by a general agitation throughout the 
western districts. Meetings were everywhere held, and 
resolutions were carried clamorously in favour of the 
immediate establishment of the constitution of May 1850, 
with the £25 franchise and the £1,000 qualification for a 
seat in the legislative council. Petitions to this effect, and 
that Mr. Montagu might not be permitted to return to the 

134 History of the Cape Colony. t l8 53 

colony, were numerously signed. By the British settlers in 
the eastern districts great meetings were also held, and 
petitions were sent to England objecting to the introduction 
of the proposed change until the Kaffir war and Hottentot 
rebellion should be suppressed and the frontier policy of 
her Majesty's government be made known. They objected 
further to a constitution giving numerical superiority to 
the western province being confirmed until provision was 
made either for the removal of the seat of government to 
the east, or for a separation of the two provinces with a 
distinct government in each. So matters stood on the 28th 
of December 1852, when the earl of Derby retired from 
office, and the earl of Aberdeen became prime minister, with 
the duke of Newcastle as secretary for the colonies. 

This ministry speedily came to a definite conclusion on 
the subject. On the 14th of February 1853 the duke of 
Newcastle wrote to Governor Cathcart that the queen would 
be advised to ratify the constitution ordinances by an order 
in council as soon as they should have undergone the requisite 
revision and amendment, and on the 14th of March he 
announced that the amendments had been made, and for- 
warded the order in council, which was dated on the 11th 
of that month and was to have effect from the 1st of 

The only important alteration made in the ordinances 
passed by the legislative council was the reduction of the 
franchise to that advocated by the attorney -general, on the 
ground that "in conferring upon the colony the boon of a 
representative constitution it would be exceedingly unadvis- 
able that the franchise should be so restricted as to leave 
those of the coloured classes who in point of intelligence were 
qualified for the exercise of political power practically un- 
represented." "It was the earnest desire of Her Majesty's 
government," he added, "that all her subjects at the Cape, 
without distinction of class or colour, should be united by 
one bond of loyalty and a common interest," and he believed 
that "the exercise of political rights enjoyed by ail alike 

l8 53] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 135 

would prove one of the best methods of attaining this 

As to the removal of the seat of government or the division 
of the colony into two provinces with a legislature in each, 
the secretary of state did not think it advisable to introduce 
any provision in the ordinance. The governor was at liberty 
to summon parliament to meet wherever he thought best, 
and if at any future time it should be found expedient to 
separate the provinces, the parliament could adopt measures 
to that effect. 

On the 21st of April 1853 the mail steamer Lady Jocelyn 
arrived in Table Bay, after a passage of thirty-seven days 
from Plymouth, bringing a despatch from the duke of 
Newcastle in which was enclosed the order in council con- 
firming the constitution. Throughout the western districts 
it was received with the greatest joy, and if the British 
settlers in the east were less jubilant, the state of suspense 
in which they had so long been living at least was ended. 

As at last fixed, the constitution provided for a parliament 
to consist of a governor, a legislative council, and a house of 

The legislative council was to consist of fit teen members 
elected for ten years, except that on the first occasion, or 
after a general dissolution, the four members for each 
province who should receive the least number of votes were 
to retire after five years, so that practically half the members 
should be chosen at the end of every fifth year. The whole 
colony was to be divided into two constituencies, the eastern 
and the western, the former of which was to return seven, 
and the latter eight members. The electors, who were to be 
the same as those for the house of assembly, had as many 
votes as there were members to be chosen, and could dis- 
tribute their votes as they pleased, one to each candidate of 
the number required, two or three to one and the remainder 
to another, or they could give all to one candidate if they 
so desired, thus providing for the representation of minorities. 
The mode of voting was to be by means of printed lists of 

136 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 53 

names of all the qualified candidates who had secured 
requisitions signed by twenty -five electors, on one of which 
the voter was to write, or cause to be written by the polling 
officer, his name and the number of votes he gave to the 
candidate or candidates of his choice. Of this chamber the 
chief justice of the colony was to be president, with the 
right of taking part in debates, but not of voting, unless 
the members were equally divided, when he was to have a 
casting voice. Five members were to form a quorum. 

The qualifications of a member of the legislative council 
were to be those of a voter and the possession within the 
province for which he was elected of land free of all 
encumbrances to the value of £2,000 or of general property 
above all debts to the value of £4,000, in addition to which 
he was required to be over thirty years of age. But no 
government official, uncertificated insolvent, or alien registered 
merely by virtue of a deed of burghership could be elected 
to a seat in either house, though he could vote for members 
of both. 

The house of assembly was to consist of forty-six members, 
elected by twenty-two constituencies for a term of five years. 
These constituencies were the different divisions in which 
there were civil commissioners, except that the cities of 
Capetown and Grahamstown were to be represented separately 
from the other parts of the divisions in which they were 
situated. Capetown was to have four members, and the 
remainder of the Cape division two; Grahamstown was to 
have two members, and the remainder of the division of 
Albany two ; and the divisions of Stellenbosch, Paarl, 
Malmesbury, Caledon, Clanwilliam, Worcester, Beaufort West, 
Swellendam, and George, forming with the Cape the western 
province, and Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, Somerset East, 
GraafF-Reinet, Fort Beaufort, Victoria East, Albert, Cradock, 
;:,nd Colesberg, forming with Albany the eastern province, 
each two. In the election of members for this chamber, 
only one vote could be given to each of two candidates, 
not two votes to one, except in the city of Capetown, where 

l8 53] Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 137 

the four votes could be distributed as in elections for the 
legislative council. The members of the house of assembly 
were to elect one of their number as speaker, who was not 
to have a vote except in case of equal divisions, when he 
was to have a casting voice. Twelve members, exclusive of 
the speaker, were to form a quorum. 

The qualification for a seat in this chamber was the same 
as that for the franchise, with the exceptions mentioned 
above. On a day fixed by government the electors of the 
division were to meet, when any one could be proposed and 
seconded. If only two were brought forward in this manner, 
the polling officer was to declare them duly elected ; but if 
more than two were proposed and supported, a day was to 
be fixed for taking the poll. 

The governor was to be at liberty to dissolve the two 
chambers together, or the house of assembly alone, but not 
the legislative council alone. Parliament was to be con- 
vened by the governor once every year, or oftener if he 
should consider a special session necessary, and in no case 
was a period of twelve months to elapse between the close 
of one session and the beginning of another. The debates 
and proceedings in both houses were to be in the English 
language only. 

The colonial secretary, the attorney-general, the treasurer- 
general, and the auditor-general, who held their appointments 
from the crown and were not responsible to parliament for 
their conduct, were to have the right of taking part in 
debates in either house, but were not to have votes. Acts 
after being read three times and passed by both chambers 
were to be signed by the governor before becoming of force, 
and he could refer any of them for the approval of her 
Majesty, to whom the power was reserved of disallowing all 
acts within two years after their reaching England. 

For the franchise no distinction was made between classes 
and creeds, between white men and blacks ; the Hottentot, 
or freed slave, or prize negro, or Fingo clothed in nothing 
but a blanket, was to be as free to go to the poll as the 

138 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 53 

astronomer - royal or the richest merchant in Capetown, 
provided he was a subject of her Majesty, twenty-one years 
of age, an occupant for a year of premises worth £25, or a 
joint occupant with others of landed property which if the 
value were divided among them would yield £25 for each, 
or who had been for twelve months in receipt of a salary 
at the rate of £50 per annum or £25 per annum with board 
and lodging. No education was needed, for the voting 
could be entirely by word of mouth. Any one who had 
sufficient property in two divisions, or who had land in one 
division and drew a salary in another, was to have the 
right of voting in both for members of the house of 
assembly, but not of the legislative council. A fresh 
registration of qualified voters was to be made in each 
division every alternate year, to be used at the polls for 
the identification of voters. 

Such were the provisions of the most liberal constitution 
that had ever been granted to a British colony. To many 
persons it seemed a tremendous risk, for the majority of 
the people who were affected by it had no comprehension 
of representative government ; others regarded it as an 
experiment that could be improved upon, if found neces- 
sary, at a future time. By at least five-sixths of the 
European inhabitants of the colony it was received with 
expressions of the highest satisfaction, and with assurances 
of gratitude to her Majesty for conferring it. 

The old legislative council meantime continued to meet 
occasionally. On the 22nd of March 1852 Mr. Hawkins 
resigned on account of ill health, and no successor was 
appointed. Mr. Montagu had gone to England on sick 
leave, and died in London on the 14th of November 
1853. Mr. Richard Sou they acted as secretary to govern- 
ment until the 24th of May 1854, when Mr. Rawson W. 
Rawson arrived to fill the office. Otherwise the members 
were unchanged. On the 14th of October 1853 the council 
concluded its last session, as the writs for the election to the 
new upper chamber were about to be issued. 

l8 54J Grant of a Liberal Constitution. 139 

The elections naturally created great interest, so much 
so that in the western province eighty-two thousand two 
hundred and twenty votes were recorded, and in the 
eastern province thirty-three thousand four hundred and 
twenty-eight. In the former there were fifteen candidates, 
in the latter ten. On the 16th of March 1854 the names 
of those who had received the greatest number of votes 
were published in the Gazette. They were : for the western 
province, Messrs. Howson Edward Rutherfoord, Francis 
William Reitz, Joseph Barry, Johan Hendrik Wicht, John 
Bardwell Ebden, Dirk Gysbert van Breda, Johannes de Wet, 
LL.D., and Henry Thomas Vigne ; and for the eastern 
province Sir Andries Stockenstrom, and Messrs. Robert 
Godlonton, George Wood, Henry Blaine, Willem Simon 
Gregorius Metelerkamp, William Fleming, and Gideon 
Daniel Joubert. 

The elections for the house of assembly then took place. 
In eight divisions there was no contest, but in some of the 
others the competition was keen. As finally declared, the 
following gentlemen were returned as members : for Cape- 
town, Hercules Crosse Jarvis, James Abercrombie, M.D., Saul 
Solomon, and Francois Louis Charl Biccard, M.D. ; for the 
Cape division, James Mortimer Maynard and Thomas Watson ; 
for Stellenbosch, Petrus Jacobus Bosman and Christoffel 
Josephus Brand, LL.D. ; for Paarl, Pieter Frederik Ryk de 
Villiers and Johan Georg Steytler; for Malmesbury, Frederick 
Duckitt and Hugo Hendrik LoedolfF; for Caledon, Bryan 
Henry Darnell and Charles Aken Fairbridge ; for Clanwilliam, 
Augustus Joseph Tancred, D.I)., and Johannes Hendricus 
Brand, LL.D. ; for Worcester, Egidius Benedictus Watermeyer, 
LL.D., and John Percival Wiggins ; for Beaufort West, John 
Charles Molteno and James Christie, M.D. ; for Swellendam, 
John Barry and John Fairbairn; for George, Henry William 
Laws and Frans Adriaan Swemmer ; for Grabamstown, James 
Thackwray and Charles Pote ; for Albany, Thomas Holden 
Bowker and William Cock ; for Uitenhage, Johannes Christoffel 
Krog and Stephanus Johannes Hartman ; for Port Elizabeth, 

140 History of the Cape Colony, [ l8 54 

John Paterson and Henry Fan court White ; for Somerset 
East, Robert Mitford Bowker * ; for GraafF-Reinet, Jeremias 
Frederik Ziervogel and Thomas Nicolaas German Muller; 
for Fort Beaufort, Charles Lennox Stretch and Richard 
Joseph Painter ; for Victoria East, John George Franklin and 
James Stewart ; for Albert, Johannes Petrus Vorster and 
Jacobus Johannes Meintjes; for Cradock, James Collett and 
William Thornhill Gilfillan ; and for Colesberg, Johan Georg 
Sieberhagen and Ludwig Johan Frederik von Maltitz. 

Parliament was summoned to meet for the first time on 
the 30th of June 1854. The legislative council assembled 
in the state room of government house, where the members 
of the assembly, having been sent for, also gathered. War 
with Russia had been proclaimed in London on the 28th 
of March, and Sir George Cathcart had been summoned to 
take a command in the army. On the 26th of May he 
had left in the Indian mail steamer Calcutta, which put 
into Table Bay on her passage to Southampton, and Mr^ 
Darling was acting as head of the administration. Exactly 
at noon the acting governor, attended by the high officials, 
military and civil, entered the state room while a royal 
salute was being fired, and formally opened the session by a 
speech in the ordinary manner. The members of the 
legislative council then retired to the room in the public 
offices which they were to occupy, and the members of the 
assembly repaired to the banqueting hall of the Goede Hoop 
lodge, which was their place of meeting until the present 
parliament house was built. As speaker they elected C. J. 
Brand, LL.D., by twenty-four votes, against nineteen for Mr. 
John Fairbairn. 

And so, two hundred and two years after the foundation 
of the Cape Colony, its destiny was to a large extent in the 

*Mr. John George Franklin, editor of the Frontier Times, was returned for 
both Somerset East and Victoria East. He elected to keep his seat for the 
last named division, which left a vacancy for the other that could not be 
filled before parliament met. Mr. Ralph Henry Arderne was elected to fill 
it, and took the oath and his seat for Somerset East on the 24th of July 


Condition in 1854. 


hands of its own people. The country was not yet indeed 
self-governing, for the principal officials were still appointed 
in England, and their salaries were secured by a reserved 
civil list, so that parliament had no authority over them ; 
but henceforth no policy could be carried out against the 
wishes of those to whom it was home. 

The following statistics will show the progress the colony bad 
made when it reached this great turning point in its history. 

The public revenue amounted in 1854 to £261,724, and in 
1855 to £257,711. It was derived from 

Customs, which yielded 

£122,184 in 



£129,841 in 18£ 

Transfer dues 


j > 


Auction dues 




Land rents 




Stamps and Licenses ... 


i > 

20,887 „ 





Fines and fees ... 




Rent of buildings 








There were also special receipts, which cannot be regarded 
as revenue proper, of £18,413 in 1854, of which £12,297 
was derived from the sale of land, and £16,155 in 1855, 
though in this year the land sales fell to £5,886. 

The revenue was spent in the following manner: — 

Roads, bridges, and buildings 
Border department 
Civil establishments 
Judicial establishments ... 

Police and jails 

Conveyance of mails 

Collection of revenue 

Ecclesiastical purposes . . . 

Transport ... 

Medical officers and hospitals 

Parliamentary expenses 


Educational purposes 


Charitable allowances 

Miscellaneous ... .„ 






































History of the Cape Colony. 


There were in 1854 about one hundred and forty thousand 
Europeans and two hundred and ten thousand coloured 
people within the colonial boundaries. 

The exports fluctuated according to the seasons, but on 
the whole were steadily rising. Sheep's wool was now not 
only the first article in importance, but exceeded in value 
all other products of the country put together. Through 
the ports of the Cape Colony passed the productions of the 
territory north of the Orange river and most of those of 
Natal, which were brought in coasting vessels to Table and 
Algoa bays. The following returns of exports for the years 
1853, 1854, and 1855, being the custom house valuations, 
represent therefore the produce of practically all South 








Hides, skins, and horns 








Copper ore ... 




Flour and bran 




Horses and mules ... 




Dried fish 




Grain and pulse 




Aloes ... 




Dried fruit 






Beef and pork * 


Ostrich feathers * 




All other articles 







The imports for home consumption amounted in value in 
1854 to £1,470,030, and in 1855 to £1,181,563, thus greatly 
exceeding the exports. 

In 1800 one hundred and four vessels — 48 English, 29 
American, 13 Danish, 3 Swedish, 4 Portuguese, 1 German, 
and 6 prizes — put into Table and Simon's bays ; the vessels 
that entered the ports of the Cape Colony in 1854 numbered 

*In the returns for 1854 and 1855 included in "all other articles." 

1854] Condition in 1854. 143 

704 British and 122 foreign, with a total of 240,543 tons, 
and in 1855 764 British and 130 foreign, with a total of 
211,019 tons. A steam packet put into Table Bay regularly 
every month from England and from India, under a contract 
between the imperial government and the General Screw 
Steam Navigation Company, according to which the mails 
were conveyed between Plymouth and Calcutta in ships of 
not less than fourteen hundred tons burden, with engines 
of at least two hundred and thirty-three horse power, and 
performing the voyage at an average speed of not less than 
eight knots an hour, touching at the Cape each way. The 
Bosphorus, the first of these steam packets — then held tc 
be magnificent specimens of naval architecture — arrived in 
Table Bay on the 27th of January 1851, In addition to 
the lighthouses mentioned in preceding chapters, one on 
the Bird island east of Algoa Bay was opened for use 
on the 1st of December 1852. 

Boards of commissioners for improving Table Bay and 
Algoa Bay had been created at the begiuning of 1848, and 
facilities for landing and shipping goods had been increased 
by them with money raised by anchorage and wharfage 
dues, but harbour works had not yet been commenced, 
owing to want of funds. As far back as 1846 a break- 
water to protect the anchorage in Table Bay had been 
projected, and the imperial government had partly sanctioned 
a loan of £300,000 for the purpose. The work was to 
have been performed by convict labour, and the Amsterdam 
battery was being made ready for the reception of three 
hundred criminals when the scheme fell through. On the 
11th of June 1853 a board of commissioners for the improve- 
ment of the mouth of the Kowie river was appointed, where 
a company was formed to undertake the work. Nothing 
of any importance, however, resulted from this new effort 
to open Port Frances. 

Internal means of communication had been greatly improved 
under the management of the central and divisional road 
boards. There was now easy access to the Bokkeveld and 

144 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 54 

the Karoo by means of M knell's pass, through which a 
road that could be traversed by the most delicate vehicle 
had been constructed. In December 1848 it was opened for 
traffic. The road through Bain's kloof, which completed a 
carriage drive from Capetown to the Breede river valley, 
was opened in September 1853, and other parts of the 
country had been equally favoured. 

Great progress had been made in extending mission work 
among the coloured people, and in establishing new con- 
gregations of Christian bodies of many denominations. At 
the close of 1853 the Dutch reformed church in the colony 
had forty-four parishes, but only thirty-eight clergymen. 
The synod had just resolved to establish a theological 
seminary as soon as possible to supply the want. The 
English episcopal church especially was making rapid strides. 
On the 23rd of November 1853 letters patent were issued 
by the queen creating the eastern province a separate see 
from the western, and appointing the right reverend Dr. 
John Armstrong first bishop of Grahamstown. Bishop 
Armstrong died on the 16th of May 1856, and was suc- 
ceeded in May 1857 by the right reverend Dr. Henry 

There were now thirteen banks in the colony, exclusive 
of the savings bank, which had its principal office in Cape- 
town, but had twelve branches in the most important 
centres of population, one as far east as Grahamstown. 
Philanthropic and benevolent institutions of many kinds 
were scattered about. 

All progress is comparative, and must be measured from 
some fixed point. If the condition of the Cape Colony at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century be taken as that 
point, its advance had certainly been great; though if its 
condition towards the close of the same century be regarded 
as the standard, the country was as yet but as a child 
beginning to walk. 






During the remainder of Mr. Darling's administration 
nothing of much note occurred. The parliament contained 
members as able as any that have since sat in it, men who 
could have acquitted themselves with distinction in the 
English house of commons, and whose object was purely 
the welfare of the country. Like many other public 
assemblies it had its buffoon, in the person of the reverend 
Dr. Tancred, member for Clanwilliam, but setting aside his 
vagaries, which were partly due to inebriety, the proceedings 
were conducted with the greatest order and decorum. The 
acting governor, however, did not feel justified in introducing 
measures of importance, consequently little beyond framing 
rules of procedure was the outcome of the first session, 
which closed on the 26th of September. 

The loss of the transport Charlotte, when over a hundred 
persons perished, was one of the saddest events of this year. 
She was a ship of five hundred and eighty-six tons burden, 
and was bound from Cork to Calcutta with five officers, one 
hundred and sixty-three soldiers, sixteen women, and twenty- 
six children of the 27th regiment on board. Being in want 
of fresh water and provisions, she endeavoured to put into 
Table Bay, but was baffled by contrary winds, so continued 
on her passage, and on the 19th of September 1854 cast 
vol. hi. *45 K 

146 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 54 

anchor in Algoa Bay. Arrangements were at once made 
for taking in the needed supplies, and a number of casks of 
salt water used as ballast were emptied, so that the ship 
became very light. Her fore topsail, which needed repairs, 
was unbent and sent down. On the following day a gale 
set in, when the Charlotte's cables parted, and she was unable 
to beat out of the bay. It was already dark when she 
struck on the ledge of rocks off Jetty-street at Port Elizabeth, 
and quickly went to pieces. Every possible exertion was 
made by the people on shore to rescue those on board, but 
without success until the ship's poop, which was covered 
with nearly naked persons clinging desperately to it, drifted 
through the surf towards the land. Most of these were 
saved, among them being five women and two of the 
military officers. The other three officers were on shore at 
the time of the disaster. There perished thirteen of the 
Charlotte's crew, sixty-two soldiers, eleven women, and all 
of the twenty-six children. 

On the 5th of December 1854 Sir George Grey arrived 
and took the oaths of office as governor and high 
commissioner. He had visited Capetown before, when on 
his way to Australia to undertake the exploration of a 
previously unknown part of the great island, and had after- 
wards been governor of South Australia and New Zealand, 
in each of which colonies he had displayed abilities of 
the highest order. Possessed of great power of endurance, 
of unbounded tact, of unrivalled skill in dealing with inferior 
races, of all the qualities that command devotion in sub- 
ordinates, and with an intense desire to promote the 
wellbeing of the country, Sir George Grey commenced his 
splendid career in South Africa. He had been in the army 
for a few years in early life, but had long since ceased to 
be a soldier, and was thus the first civilian that held the 
post of governor of the Cape Colony after the time of the 
earl of Caledon. When representative institutions were 
granted, it was considered proper that the line of military 
rulers should come to an end. 

1 85 5] Sir George Grey. 147 

To meet the wants 01 the eastern province, a lieutenant- 
governor was appointed, who was to reside in Grahamstown, 
and have command of all the troops in South Africa, most 
of which were then in British KafFraria and outposts on the 
border. Lieutenant-General Sir James Jackson, who was 
appointed to this office, assumed duty on the 30th of December 
1854. All business connected with the divisions of Albany, 
Fort Beaufort, Victoria East, Queenstown, Somerset East, 
Cradock, and Albert thereafter passed through the hands of 
the lieutenant-governor or his secretary, but this was not 
regarded by the eastern province people as of any advantage, 
inasmuch as everything of importance had to be referred to 
the government in Capetown for instructions. It was only 
in trifling matters of routine and in the event of a sudden 
emergency that the lieutenant-governor could act on his own 
responsibility, except in military affairs. 

On the 15th of March 1855 the second session of the Cape 
parliament — in which death and resignation had caused a few 
changes in the personnel — was opened, when the governor 
laid before the chambers various proposals for advancing the 
prosperity of the colony, and met with a hearty response 
from the members. 

Among these proposals was the enlargement of the supreme 
court to a chief justice and three puisne judges, which was 
resolved upon. The personnel of this court had in course of 
years been much changed. Sir John Wylde was still chief 
justice, but Mr. Menzies died at Colesberg when on circuit on 
the 1st of November 1850, and on the 1st of February 1851 
by warrants under the royal sign manual Mr. William 
Musgrave was appointed first, and Advocate Sydney Smith 
Bell second puisne judge. These appointments were gazetted 
in Capetown on the 23rd of July 1851. On the death of 
Mr. Justice Musgrave Advocate John Watts Ebden was 
appointed provisionally by the acting governor on the 7th 
of October 1854, and was confirmed as second puisne judge 
by her Majesty, Mr. Justice Bell becoming first. Recorder 
Henry Cloete was promoted from Natal to the Cape bench 

148 History of the Cape Colony. T l8 55 

when an additional judge was required, and on the 8th of 
November 1855 took the oaths of office. So the* court 
remained until the resignation of Sir John Wylde, owing 
to the illness from which he died at a very advanced age 
on the 13th of December 1859. After a long delay, on the 
13th of November 1857 Mr. Bell was appointed provisionally 
chief justice, Mr. Ebden first, Mr. Cloete second, and Advocate 
Egidius Benedictus Watermeyer — who had previously been 
acting during the absence on leave of Mr. Ebden — third 
puisne judge. This arrangement was not confirmed by her 
Majesty, and on the 10th of February 1858 Sir William 
Hodges was appointed chief justice, but as Mr. Ebden had 
resigned, Mr. Watermeyer was confirmed as third puisne judge. 
The enlargement of the supreme court was necessary to meet 
the demands upon the time of judges when on circuit. 

Another improvement in providing increased means for 
administering justice was the creation of nine new districts, 
and the appointment of resident magistrates to Oudtshoorn 
and Aliwal North in July, to Prince Albert, Calvinia, and 
Kamaggas — subsequently removed to Springbokfontein — in 
August, to Bredasdorp in September, to Victoria West and 
Middelburg in November 1855, and to Alexandria in January 

Of equal, if not greater, importance in the interests of 
justice and the preservation of order was the enlargement 
of the frontier armed and mounted police force. At the 
conclusion of the war this body of light cavalry, whose 
services had been found most valuable, was reduced to 
fifteen officers and two hundred and sixty men, and after 
the 1st of April 1853 its maintenance was made a charge 
upon the colonial revenue. Parliament now resolved to 
enlarge it, and an act was passed for its better organisation 
and regulation, under which by the 1st of December of the 
same year it was brought up to a strength of one com- 
mandant, four inspectors, twelve sub-inspectors, twenty 
sergeants, twenty corporals, and five hundred privates en- 
listed for three years. Mr. — afterwards Sir — Walter Currie, 

1S55I Sir George Grey. 149 

one of the English settlers of 1820, was appointed com- 
mandant, and most of the officers were selected from the 
young farmers of Albany, who knew the country and the 
habits of the Kaffirs thoroughly. The privates were youn^ 
Englishmen, generally of a superior class, many of whom in 
course of time rose to positions of distinction in the colony. 

By another act of this session divisional councils were 
created, and were entrusted with the duties previously 
performed by the divisional road boards, the district school 
commissions, and the courts for the better regulation of 
pounds and prevention of trespasses. Each division was 
thereafter represented by six councillors elected for three 
years by those persons who were qualified to vote for 
members of parliament. The civil commissioner of the 
division by virtue of his office was constituted chairman of 
the council. 

A great change was made in the customs tariff, partly 
for revenue purposes and partly to meet the views that now 
prevailed in the mother country. Great Britain, having 
attained unchallenged supremacy as a manufacturing and 
maritime power, had naturally adopted free trade views. 
The policy of a nation at any time is the result of the 
circumstances in which it is then existing, and hence the 
old navigation acts, which had contributed so greatly to 
England's power at sea, were now completely reversed. The 
Cape parliament, guided by English opinion, passed a tariff 
act which placed goods imported from Great Britain and 
from foreign countries on the .same level, and made no 
distinction whatever between the flags of the ships in which 
they were conveyed. For revenue purposes it was necessary 
to levy duties on most of the articles imported, as direct 
taxation to any large extent is not practicable in a country 
like the Cape Colony. On the 4th of May 1855 the new 
act came in force, under which a number of articles were 
specially rated, a number of others were admitted free, and 
seven and a half per cent of the Value of everything else 
was levied. As the great bulk of the trade was with 

150 History of the Cape Colony. [1855 

England, this was practically equivalent to adding fifty 
per cent to the duties on goods from that country. 

An act for encouraging the introduction of European 
labourers was also passed, but as very little resulted from 
it, it is unnecessary to give the particulars. 

The question of the form of government was brought on 
for discussion, but more to ascertain the views of the 
colonists generally than with any desire for immediate 
change. On the 26th of March a motion of Mr. Wicht, 
seconded by Mr. Reitz, was carried in the legislative council: 
" that a select committee should be appointed for the purpose 
of considering the expediency of introducing the principle of 
responsible or parliamentary government in the constitution 
of this colony, and that Sir Andries Stockenstrom and Messrs. 
Reitz, Godlonton, De Wet, and the mover do form the 

This was followed on the 5th of April by a resolution, 
proposed by Mr. John Paterson in the house of assembly: 
" that the experience of the first and present sessions of 
the Cape parliament fully justifies an expression of opinion 
by this house that the immediate introduction of responsible 
parliamentary government into the colony is both expedient 
and necessary, and that a select committee of the house be 
appointed to enquire into the best means for furthering this 
object and to report to this house on the amendments to be 
made in the constitution ordinances, by which the principle 
of responsible parliamentary government may be introduced." 
In favour of this resolution the following twenty-three 
members gave their votes : Messrs. Abercrombie, Barry, 
Biccard, Bosman, H. Bowker, M. Bowker, Cawood, 
Fairbairn, Grisbrook, Hartman, Jarvis, Krog, Von Maltitz, 
Meintjes, Molteno, Painter, Paterson, Shepperson, Sieberhagen, 
Solomon, Stretch, Tancred, and Ziervogel. Against the 
motion were only nine : Messrs. Arderne, Christie, Darnell, 
Gilfillan, Maynard, Stewart, De Villiers, Watson, and White. 
A committee, consisting of Messrs. Fairbairn, Solomon, 
Molteno, Meintjes, and Paterson, was appointed, who 

1855] Sir George Grey. 151 

brought in a report on the 9th of May in favour of the 
introduction of responsible government, and pointing out 
that this could be effected by the alteration of a single 
clause in the constitution ordinance. Here the question 
rested until 1856. 

In the legislative council on the 15th of May a petition 
of the British settlers in Albany, with five hundred and 
three names attached to it, was presented, objecting to the 
proposed change, and in that chamber no further action was 
taken during the session. 

A question that occupied much time was that connected 
with the Kat river Hottentots. There were then some four 
hundred of these people and deserters from the Cape regi- 
ment in the Transkeian territories, where their presence 
tended to evil. In the confiscation of the properties of 
rebels that had taken place there had undoubtedly been 
several instances in which individuals who had not been 
proved guilty had suffered hardships, and these were brought 
forward by partisans of the coloured people as if they were 
specimens of a system generally followed. The members of 
parliament were desirous that all cases of wrong should be 
redressed, and that the refugee Hottentots should be per- 
mitted to return to the colony, but not to the immediate 
frontier where thev might cause mischief. This course was 
followed by the government. On close examination the 
real grievances dwindled away to a very small proportion of 
the alleged ones, and as these were rectified and most of 
the fugitives withdrew quietly from Kaffiriand, this matter 
was set at rest. 

On the 7th of June parliament was prorogued. 

Much distress was caused to the farming community at 
this time by great losses of horned cattle from lungsickness, 
which was brought into the col on v in 1854 by a bull from 
Holland that was landed at Mossel Bay. Despite all pre- 
cautions the disease, which was of a very virulent nature, 
spread rapidly over South Africa, and it was computed that 
before March 1856 in the Cape Colony alone fully one 

152 History of the Cape Colony. [1855 

hundred thousand head of horned cattle had died of it. 
From the earliest days of the settlement different ailments 
of cattle were prevalent, but none so destructive as the 
lung sickness on its first appearance. There were localities 
where strangury, caused by the glutinous juice of a par- 
ticular shrub, was fatal to oxen, but care was taken by 
cattle breeders to avoid such places, so that very little 
loss was occasioned by it. In other localities a poisonous 
plant called tulp grew in abundance, and cattle that ate 
of it died, but every herdsman recognised it at first sight 
and took care to keep the animals under his charge away 
from it. Of this plant and also of the one that caused 
strangury horned cattle were very fond. There was a disease 
that affected the hoofs and caused them to become loose, 
but from this most of the animals, if fed and attended to, 
recovered. An ailment called sponsziekte often thinned the 
number of the calves, but was never widely destructive. The 
most dreaded of all the cattle diseases was called lamziekte, 
which was of the nature of paralysis, and was commonly 
prevalent after droughts. It was more fatal in some places 
than in others, and there were even farms which were said 
to be entirely free of it at all times. Its cause was un- 
known, as was a remedy for it, and it was regarded by many 
simply as a judgment of God. All these diseases, however, 
fell into the shade when lung sickness appeared, and baffled 
all attempts to discover either a preventive or a cure. It 
was years later when inoculation, that is communicating the 
disease in a mild form, was resorted to, which proved to be 
tolerably efficacious, as an animal was found not to be 
subject to it a second time. 

The price of oxen was doubled or trebled as soon as the 
first wave of lungsickness had passed over the country, and 
butchers' meat that had previously been sold at two pence 
farthing now rose to four pence halfpenny or five pence a 
pound (from 4*95 d. to 9*9d. or lid. a kilogramme). There 
were then no other means of conveying goods or produce from 
one place to another than by waggons drawn by bullocks, so 

1856] Sir George Grey. 153 

the charges for transport were increased, and there was a 
corresponding rise in the cost of living everyvv T here in South 

During the summers of 1854-5 and 1855-6 the horse dis- 
temper also raged with unusual severity, and no fewer than 
sixty-five thousand animals perished from it in the colony. 
This was a heavy loss to individual owners, though it was 
not such a public calamity as the destruction of horned 
cattle by lungsickness. Horses kept in stables, and not 
allowed to run on the veld until the sun had dried up all 
the dew on the grass, were not attacked by the distemper, 
and as all the animals of the best class were thus sheltered, 
those that were swept off were the inferior ones, that 
had not been considered worth the expense of keeping in 
stalls and providing with artificial food. The most com- 
petent man in the country to pronounce a judgment on this 
subject, one who was himself a horsebreeder, was of opinion 
that the great destruction caused by the distemper was a 
blessing in disguise, as the inferior animals disappeared and 
the best remained to breed from.* 

While these troubles lasted it might be thought that 
the farmers would not have paid much attention to anything 
else, but political questions had been so keenly debated of 
late years that they could not easily be banished from the 
minds of even the most indifferent of the country people. 
Their representatives in parliament also and other men who 
desired to acquire influence among them lost no opportunity 
of trying to forward their own -views. There was as yet no 
great political organisation, such as those existing at 
present, still the first effect of the introduction of parlia- 

* See Notes on the Horse Sickness at the Cape of Good Hove 
in 1854-55, by T. B. Bayley. Compiled by permission of his 
Excellency the Governor from official documents. A demi octavo 
pamphlet of 124 pages and a large map, published in Capetown in 
1856. Mr. Bayley was an English gentleman of means, who owned 
a farm in the Caledon district, and devoted himself to the improve- 
ment of agriculture and stockbreeding, particularly to the production 
of horses superior to those commonly reared in South Africa. 

154 History of the Cape Colony. [1855 

mentary government here as elsewhere was to make those 
who had previously been thoughtless ponder over matters — 
possibly at first only to a limited extent, — and endeavour 
to form opinions for themselves. 

The question of responsible government was now being 
widely discussed throughout the country. In the west 
opinion was divided as to whether the colony was, or was 
not, ripe for it, but the British settlers in the east, almost 
to a man, were strongly opposed to its introduction. 
Their arguments, as used in the newspapers and at public 
meetings, went to show that for them even despotism would 
be preferable to such a form of government. The old Dutch 
inhabitants were in a very large majority in the colony, 
and the existing condition of things in the parliament, 
where English influence was predominant, could only be 
temporary. The old inhabitants would certainly come to feel 
their strength, when the law that required all debates and 
proceedings to be in English would no longer be found a 
barrier to their representation by men with their own 
ideals, and then a British minority would lie at the mercy 
of a majority not of their nationality or speech. Kepresen- 
tation under such circumstances would be a bitter mockery, 
and no conceivable form of government would be more 
oppressive. The system also would open a door to abuses 
of all kinds, and a struggle for place would ?nsue in which 
principle and probity would be entirely lost sight of. 
Kesponsible government, said the Eoman catholic bishop 
of Grahamstown on one occasion, means the plunder of the 
colony, a belief generally held in the English speaking 
eastern districts. 

And from the British settler's point, of view, there was 
undoubtedly danger in sight, for his ideal of what should 
be striven for and that of his Dutch speaking neighbour 
were not the same. He was full of energy, loved a life of 
bustle and excitement, made plans for the rapid develop- 
ment of the resources of the country, in which great risks 
were not considered, and used as his standard of prosperity 

185 6 ] Sir George Grey. 155 

material wealth. The other was more cautious, and though 
also weighing material wealth, did not set such high value 
upon it as upon a life free from turmoil. He was content 
to let any resources the country might have wait for 
development rather than rush on hastily, and by so doing 
imperil a humble certainty for the chance of possible riches 
or grandeur. 

To many people not otherwise opposed to perfect parlia- 
mentary government it was doubtful whether a sudden leap 
to it from the absolutism that had so recently ceased would 
be prudent. It would come in time, they felt certain, but all 
true progress is gradual, and great changes should not be 
made without careful consideration. It would be better to 
give the system then in existence a fair trial, and if 
experience proved that it would not answer its purpose, try 
for something different. It was then too soon to find fault 
with a constitution which had been given to them so recently 
and received as the greatest of boons, which had already been 
of much benefit to the colony. 

The result of the agitation was that when parliament met 
again on the 13th of March 1856 the opinions of many 
members of the house of assembly were found to have 
undergone a change. 

On the 3rd of April Sir Andries Stockenstrom moved in 
the legislative council: "that in the opinion of this house 
there should be a responsible ministry to advise the governor 
in the execution of the powers and authorities committed to 
bim by her Majesty's commission for the administration of 
the affairs of this colony." This was seconded by Mr. Wicht, 
and carried by a majority of five, Messrs. Rutherfoord, Reitz, 
Barry, Ebden, Van Breda, Metelerkamp, and Fleming voting 
with the mover and seconder, and Messrs. Vigne, Godlonton, 
Wood, and Cock voting against. 

In the house of assembly on the 10th of April Mr. Fair- 
bridge moved, and Mr. Pote seconded : " that it is the opinion 
of this house that the introduction of the system of 
responsible government is against the feeling of the country. 

156 History of the Cape Colony. r i$5 6 

is a premature measure, and not suited to the present state 
of the colony." 

Mr. Solomon, seeing that the full change which he desired 
would certainly not be adopted, attempted to secure an 
instalment. He moved as an amendment : " that it is the 
opinion of this house that the members of the executive 
council should be qualified to be returned as members of 
either house of parliament, and in case of non election that 
these officers should be entitled, ex officio, to take their seats 
in either house, but without the power of voting." 

The debate occupied the chamber the whole of the 10th 
and 11th of April, and at its close the introduction of 
responsible government was lost by a majority of eight, those 
voting for it being Messrs. Abercrombie, Arderne, Barry, 
Biccard, Bosman, Fairbairn, Grisbrook, Jarvis, Laws, Meintjes, 
Molteno, Paterson, Solomon, Stretch, Wehmeyer, and 
Ziervogel, and those voting against it Messrs. Armstrong, 
H. Bowker, M. Bowker, Christie, Cawood, Darnell, Duckitt, 
Fairbridge, Loedolff, Von Maltitz, Maynard, Munnik, Niewoudt, 
Painter, Pote, Scanlen, Shepperson, Stewart, Steytler, Tancred, 
Turner, De Villiers, Wiggins, and Wright. Of the twenty- 
four opponents of responsible government thirteen were 
eastern province and eleven western province members. 

The British settlers desired the separation of the two 
provinces, and the establishment of a complete administration 
in each. The alternative in their opinion, removal of the 
seat of government of the undivided colony to Grahamstown, 
had almost ceased to be discussed, as outside of the Albany 
community the people everywhere were opposed to it. The 
principal argument used by the advocates of separation was 
the necessity for a strong and vigilant administration in the 
neighbourhood of the Kaffirs. At this time no one could 
foresee that before the next session of parliament all danger 
from the Xosas and Tembus would disappear, and conse- 
quently this reasoning was generally admitted to have 
weight. But now the Dutch speaking inhabitants of the 
eastern province used the same arguments against separation 

1856] Sir George Grey. 157 

that the British settlers used against responsible govern- 
ment : they would have none o£ it, because it might possibly 
lead to their finding themselves in a hopeless minority under 
the rule of a party that would have no respect for their 
wishes. On the 27th of May an animated discussion on the 
subject took place in the house of assembly, which ended in 
seven members voting for separation and nineteen voting 
against it. 

The subject that, next to responsible government and the 
separation of the provinces, occupied most attention at this 
time was the question of state support of the clergy of 
different denominations of Christians. There was no 
established church, and no section of the community enjoyed 
any privileges denied to others, except that some of the 
smaller religious bodies were obliged to maintain their own 
ministers. There was a good deal of jealousy, however, 
between the large bodies that received aid from the govern- 
ment, each asserting that the others drew too great a share. 
One of the ablest men intellectually in the house of 
assembly, though the feeblest physically, for he was a 
dwarf, was Mr. Saul Solomon, member for Capetown. He 
was an independent or congregationalist in religion, and 
objected on principle to state aid to churches or state 
control of the clergy. No one ever suspected him of 
jealousy of denominations more highly favoured than his 
own, for by all men his motives were admitted to be pure ; 
but his advocacy in parliament of " the voluntary principle," 
as it was termed, that is the entire support of its own 
ministers by each religious body, raised a storm of opposi- 
tion throughout the colony. Petition after petition poured 
in upon both chambers, praying that the old system should 
not be disturbed. In the country districts men expressed 
the utmost fear that Christianity would receive a serious 
check if the stipends of the clergy ceased to be paid by 
government, and no one foresaw that the withdrawal of 
state aid would actually impart increased life and vigour 
to the churches. In support of the voluntary principle the 

158 History of the Cape Colony. L l8 5 6 

petitions were few, but one attracted considerable attention. 
It was from the Malays of Capetown, praying for relief, on 
the ground of their being taxpayers and being compelled to 
support Christianity while they were Mohamedans. It was 
generally believed, however, that this petition did not 
originate with them, but with European political agitators. 
In and out of parliament this matter was discussed, but 
many years were yet to elapse before the colony was 
prepared to adopt the voluntary principle. 

The new division of Queenstown was occupied by Europeans 
after the constitution was granted, and was consequently 
without representation. In this session it was resolved to 
annex it to Victoria East for electoral purposes, without 
increasing the number of members. 

On the 4th of June parliament was prorogued. 

For some time past regular steam communication with 
England had ceased, as the arrangement with the Company 
that had contracted to carry it on had fallen through. It 
was now resumed under a contract between the imperial 
government and Mr. Adam Duncan Dundas, entered into 
on the 6th of August 1856, under which Mr. Dundas under- 
took to convey the mails between Dartmouth, the Cape, 
Mauritius, Point de Galle, Madras, and Calcutta monthly, 
in steamships of not less than nine hundred and forty-nine 
tons burden, and to make the passage from Dartmouth to 
Table Bay in thirty-six days. In consideration of this 
service he was to receive a subsidy of £41,000 a year, of 
which one-fourth was to be paid by the Cape Colony, and 
one-fourth by Mauritius. The first steamer under this 
contract left Dartmouth on the 6th of September 1856. 

But after a single twelvemonth this arrangement ended, 
and on the 12th of September 1857 a contract was made 
by the lords of the admiralty with the directors of the 
Union Steamship Company to convey the mails monthly in 
each direction between Devonport and Capetown. The ships 
were to be not under five hundred and thirty tons burden — 
except at the beginning of the service— and they were to 

1856] Sir George Grey. 159 

make the passage outward or homeward in forty-two days, 
forfeiting £25 for a passage of forty-three days and £50 
for each day over that time, but receiving a premium of 
£50 for every day under forty-two in which the passage 
was performed. For this service the Company was to 
receive a yearly subsidy of £33,000, that is £1,375 for each 
passage. The contract was entered into for five years. This 
was the commencement of the Union Company's connection 
with South Africa, but its little fleet of five ocean steamers 
in 1857 — the Athens, 740 tons, the Norman, 516 tons, the 
Dane, 447 tons, the Gelt, 440 tons, and the Phoebe, 416 tons — 
has gradually grown into the magnificent line of huge ships 
that at present convey the mails weekly over the same route, 
and make the passage in sixteen days. To ply between the 
ports of the Cape Colony and Natal, the Company had in 
1857 the Madagascar, of 321 tons, the Waldensian, of 285 
tons, and the Zulu, of 189 tons, then considered fine vessels. 
though mere cockle shells when compared with those that 
now perform the same service. 

On the 25th of June 1855 the South African Museum, now 
one of the most attractive institutions in Capetown, was 
founded by the governor's appointment of Mr. Rawson W. 
Rawson, colonial secretary, and Dr. Ludovic Pappe — after- 
wards colonial botanist, — as trustees, and Mr. Edgar Layard, 
whose splendid collection of birds remains a proof of his 
devotion to ornithology, as curator. The collection was 
opened to the public in a house in St. George's street in 
January 1856, but was, of course, very small compared with 
what it is at present. The old natural history museum, 
founded by Dr. Andrew Smith, had been allowed to fall 
into such decay that very few of the specimens were of 
any value whatever, but presents of animals of many kinds 
were liberally made by gentlemen in all parts of South 
Africa, and in a very short time the rooms were attractive 
to visitors. Specimens of minerals, weapons, native manu- 
factures, curiosities, and other things came in more slowly. 
By an act of the colonial parliament passed in 1857 the 

160 History of the Cape Colony. [1857 

museum was firmly established under a board of three 
trustees, to be appointed by the governor in perpetuity as 
vacancies should occur, those named in the act being Messrs. 
Rawson W. Rawson, Thomas Maclear, astronomer royal, and 
Ludovic Pappe, M.D. 

At the instigation of Sir George Grey parliament provided 
money for the erection of the large building at the foot of 
the gardens now entirely devoted to the South African 
Public Library. It was at first intended, however, that one 
wing should be used for the library and the other for the 
museum, taxidermist's rooms, and curator's residence. On the 
17th of November 1857 the first stone was laid, and as soon 
as the northern wing was completed the museum was moved 
into it, where it was opened to the public on the 1st of 
April 1860. There it remained until the erection a few 
years ago of the fine building which it now occupies. 

In 1856 periodical courts were established at many places 
distant from the ordinary seats of magistracy, and were 
found of much service. The greater number of the districts 
were also made divisions, which facilitated the collection of 
the revenue. In 1857 it was resolved to create three new 
divisions, for which purpose parliament voted the necessary 
funds, and in January 1858 a civil commissioner and resident 
magistrate was appointed for Bedford and for Hopetown, and 
in April of the same year for Knysna. 

On the 12th of June 1857 her Majesty's steamship Megcera 
arrived in Table Bay from Mauritius, and brought intelli- 
gence of the disaffection shown by the nineteenth regiment 
of native infantry at Barhampur on the 27th of February, 
the beginning of the mutiny in India. She had no despatches 
for the governor, however, and the information received by 
her was somewhat vague. Still it was considered by Sir 
George Grey of such importance that he at once took steps 
to prepare for giving assistance in case it should be needed, 
so that when on the 6th of August the Peninsular and 
Oriental Company's steamer Madras brought him letters 
from Lord Elphinstone, governor of Bombay, giving an 

1857] Sir George Grey. 161 

account of the mutiny of the troops at Mirath on the 10th 
of May, the seizure of Delhi and the murder of many of the 
English residents there on the 12th, describing further the 
condition of things in Hindostan and asking for aid, he was 
able at once to begin those great services to the empire 
which have made his name for ever memorable. 

Owing to the self destruction of the Xosa tribe, which will 
be related in another chapter, there was happily now no 
danger of a Kaffir war, though there was some trouble with 
roving robber bands. There were ten strong battalions of 
British troops in South Africa. Part of the 89th regiment 
was in garrison in Capetown, the volunteers of the city 
offered to undertake the duty of guarding the forts, and 
within a week these troops were at sea. At Algoa Bay 
the remainder of the regiment embarked, and the transports 
then sped as rapidly as possible to Bombay. A wing of the 
first battalion of the 13th regiment was marched to Algoa 
Bay, where the officers and four hundred rank and file 
embarked in the Madras, and left for Calcutta on the 30th 
of August. Two batteries of artillery, a great quantity of 
military stores, fifty-six horses, and even a considerable sum 
of ready money from the Cape treasury went at the same 
time. A little later a couple of large ships arrived from 
Bombay to take in horses, which were procured with the 
utmost expedition, the governor supplying those in his own 
stables and many colonists following his example. 

But this was not all the assistance afforded by Sir George 
Grey at the critical moment. On the 6th of August the 
Cleopatra put into Table Bay on her passage from Portsmouth 
to Singapore, conveying part of the 23rd fusileers for the 
Chinese expedition under Lord Elgin. The governor took 
the responsibility of changing her destination, and on the 9th 
she left for Calcutta. On the 9th the BeUeisle put in with 
some companies of the 93rd highlanders bound to China, 
and on the 12th by the governor's orders sailed for Calcutta 
instead. So also with the Mauritius, which put in on the 
11th with the remainder of the 93rd> and left again on the 
vol. m. h 

1 62 History of the Cape Colony. [1857 

16th. On the 13th the Polmaise from Dublin bound to 
New Zealand with part of the 95th regiment put into 
Table Bay, and had her destination changed. She sailed 
on the 17th. On the 6th of September the Beechworth 
with the remainder ©f the 95th arrived, and, instead of 
proceeding to New Zealand, on the 13th left for India. 
This assistance was of the utmost service in saving 
Hindostan, for it enabled the government to act with 
vigour long before reinforcements were received from 

As soon as transports could be procured, more troops 
were sent from the Cape. In November 1857 the 80th 
left for Calcutta, in December the first battalion of the 
6th and the remaining wing of the first battalion of the 
13th followed to the same place. Horses were urgently 
needed, so the governor partly dismounted the Cape 
regiment, and used such other exertions that before May 
1858 two thousand nine hundred and one horses and 
one hundred and four mules had been collected and 
forwarded. Still, as intelligence was received of the 
continued want of troops in Hindostan, more regiments 
were despatched as means for their conveyance could be 
obtained. In March 1858 the 73rd, in July the second 
battalion of the 12th, in April one wing of the second 
battalion of the 60th, in November the remainder of the 
same regiment, and in October the 31st regiment, which 
only arrived from England in July, left for India. There 
now remained in South Africa, until the arrival of the 59th 
from China in a debilitated condition in January 1859, 
only the first battalion of the 2nd, the united battalions of 
the 45th, and the 85th regiment, one wing of which was 
in Natal; but Sir George Grey had taken the responsibility 
of adding to the number of the frontier armed and 
mounted police, which parliament afterwards approved of. 

The board of examiners empowered to grant certificates 
of merit and attainments in the several branches of 
literature and science, which was the precursor of the 

1857] Sir George Grey. 163 

present university, had its origin at this time. On the 
22nd of October 1857 Sir George Grey issued a commission 
to Advocate E. B. Watermeyer, then acting as a judge of 
the supreme court, James Rose Innes, M.A., LL.D., 
superintendent general of education, and Langham Dale, 
B.A., professor of classics and English literature in the 
South African college, to form a plan for the purpose. 
On the 8th of December they sent in a report, which the 
governor approved of, and an act, framed upon it, was 
introduced into parliament in the session of 1858 and was 
passed by both chambers. It provided for the appointment 
by the governor of a board of seven examiners, whose 
certificates were to be recognised as equivalent to those of 
a university, and without which no one could thereafter 
practise in various professions in the colony. 

A good deal of discrepancy had been found in mauy of 
the diagrams of land held under individual titles in the 
colony, and it became necessary to provide for the greatest 
accuracy in future surveys. A commission was therefore 
appointed by the governor to ascertain and report upon 
the unit of measure that should be used. This commission 
found that one thousand Rhynland or, as commonly called, 
Cape feet were equal to one thousand and thirty-three 
English standard feet, and by an act passed in 1859 the 
Rhynland foot with this ratio was made the unit of 
land measure in the colony. 

In the session of 1857 parliament resolved to commence 
the construction of railways in the colony. The governor 
proposed two lines, one from Capetown through the Paarl 
to Wellington, with branches to Wynberg, Stellenbosch, 
and Malmesbury, in all ninety-two miles and a half or 149 
kilometres in length, the other from Port Elizabeth to 
Grahamstown by way of Uitenhage, one hundred and thirty- 
five miles or 217 kilometres in length. The eastern province 
people, however, were at variance among themselves con- 
cerning the last named line, as a strong party desired rather 
to connect Port Elizabeth and Graafi'-Reinet by rail, and 

164 History of the Cape Colony. [1857 

others, who were then building great hopes upon the improve- 
ment of Port Frances, had no wish to connect the frontier 
districts with Port Elizabeth, so that this part of the 
governor's plan dropped out. Part of the western line, as 
proposed, was approved of. The Malmesbury and Wynberg 
branches were omitted, and the main line was made to run 
from Capetown through the villages of Stellenbosch and the 
Paarl to Wellington, sixty-three miles and a half or 102 
kilometres in distance. 

The principle adopted was that it should be constructed 
and worked by a company, not by the government. A 
dividend to shareholders, after working and maintenance 
expenses were paid, of six per cent per annum upon the cost 
of construction, provided that it did not exceed £500,000, was 
guaranteed for fifty years, and the districts through which 
the line was to pass were made responsible to the colonial 
treasury for half of the deficiency, should there be any. The 
government was to have the right to purchase the line after 
twenty years, at a price equal to the capital which would 
yield, at six per cent, interest amounting to the average 
profit of the best three years out of the preceding seven. 
The rails were to be fifty-six inches and a half or 
143*5 centimetres apart, and there were stipulations as to 
quality of materials, telegraph wires, carriage of mails, and 
various other matters. 

In anticipation of this measure being passed, an associa- 
tion termed the Capetown Eailway and Dock Company had 
been incorporated in London under the limited liability act, 
and now called for shares of ^620 each, which were sub- 
scribed for to the amount of £600,000, to be paid in instal- 
ments. On the 5th of October 1858 a contract was signed 
by the directors of this company to construct and work the 
line from Capetown to Wellington, and as soon thereafter as 
navvies and tools could be sent out a commencement was 
made with the formation of the road. 

On the 31st of March 1859 the first sod was turned by 
Sir George Grey with the usual ceremony on such occasions. 

1857] Sir George Grey. 165 

It was a memorable event, this commencement — though on 
so small a scale — of that great network of railways which 
now covers South Africa. No country in the world needed 
rapid and cheap communication between the coast and the 
interior more than the Cape Colony. It is a land without 
a single navigable river, without the possibility of the con- 
struction of a canal in any part, where in seasons of drought 
a journey of any length was extremely difficult. Rapid 
progress in production of articles for export was therefore 
out of the question in the interior districts, as was the 
education of the people by means of easy intercourse with 
each other, until the iron rails were laid down. 

It was many years later when the government resolved 
to take over the lines and carry on large extensions with 
money borrowed on security of the colonial revenue, and 
the gauge was then altered from fifty-six inches and a half 
or 143 '5 centimetres to forty-two inches or 106 '678 centi- 
metres, the present standard. No one then imagined that 
within half a century trains would be conveying passengers 
and goods from Capetown, Port Elizabeth, and East London 
to the Zambesi, to Beira, to Delagoa Bay, and to Durban. 





TO 4TH JULY 1860. 

The improvement of Table Bay as a port for shipping 
was an object in which Sir George Grey took a very warm 
interest. During recent years numerous wrecks, happily 
attended with little or no loss of life, had taken place there 
in winter gales, and the great increase in the number of 
vessels frequenting the port made this more noticeable than 
in olden times. In summer too, as well as in winter, ships 
were frequently detained for many days at considerable 
expense through the impossibility of landing their cargoes 
when strong winds were blowing. 

By direction of Lord John Russell a plan of harbour works 
was drawn up for the approval of Mr. Rendell, the admiralty 
engineer, by Mr. John Scott Tucker, who subsequently — 
January 1859 — became civil engineer for the colony. Mr. 
Rendell altered the plan, which was sent out, and laid before 
parliament in 1855. The estimated cost was £500,000. A 
report upon it by a committee of the house of assembly was 
adopted, to the effect that the lords of the admiralty should 
decide upon the plan and engage an engineer to carry it 
out. There was then a sum of £30,000 in hand, which could 
be devoted to the work, and a revenue of £16,000 a year 
derived from double wharfage fees would be available as 
interest on the remaining capital required. Sir George Grey 
in forwarding the report expressed a desire that the imperial 
government should undertake the work on the security 


1857] Sir George Grey. 167 

named. Shortly after framing his plan Mr. Eendell died, 
and was succeeded as admiralty harbour engineer by Captain 
James Vetch. 

Meantime Lord John Eussell had been followed — 21st of 
July 1855 — as secretary of state for the colonies by Sir 
William Molesworth, who died on the 22nd of October 
of the same year. On the 21st of November Mr. Henry 
Labouchere succeeded to the office, who on the 2nd of 
November 1856 forwarded to the governor a plan drawn up 
by Captain Vetch and approved by the lords of the admiralty. 
Captain Vetch proposed to run out a massive pier, 5,100 feet 
or 1,554*45 metres in length, from the Chavonnes battery, 
with an elbow, 500 feet or 152*4 metres in length, projecting 
towards Fort Knokke. This was to provide protection from 
the open sea. From Fort Knokke another pier, 4,600 feet or 
1,402 metres in length, was to be run out towards the end of 
the elbow, leaving an open space, or entrance, of 1,600 feet 
or 487*67 metres at a distance of a mile and a half or 2*4 
kilometres from the eastern shore of the bay. This pier was 
to protect the enclosure from south-east gales. The prevail- 
ing winds would strike both the great piers nearly along 
their length, and thus the fury of the sea would be spent 
upon an inclining wall, not upon one at a right angle with 
it. The cost was estimated by Captain Vetch at one million 
pounds sterling, if a thousand convicts were employed upon 
it ; but a portion of the expense would be recovered, it 
was supposed, by reclaiming ground on the shore and form- 
ing an esplanade 7,000 feet or 2,13355 metres long and 
400 feet or 121*9 metres wide, from the pier at Fort 
Knokke to a landing jetty which was included in the plan, 
to run out nearly opposite the entrance to the enclosed 

This new plan was submitted by the governor to parlia- 
ment in the session of 1857, and a report of a committee 
of the house of assembly appointed to consider it was 
adopted by twenty-three votes to eight. The members of the 
committee expressed themselves extremely averse to convicts 

1 68 History of the Cape Colony. [i860 

being introduced to carry it out, as had been proposed. 
They recommended that if the imperial government would 
advance the necessary funds without interest, the legislature 
should pledge itself to repay the cost of the work at the 
rate of at least £25,000 a year from the date of its com- 
mencement. They were fully impressed with the belief that 
the quicker the work was carried on the better and cheaper 
it would be in the end, and they recommended that an act 
should be passed imposing an amended tariff of wharfage 
dues on goods landed and shipped in Table Bay, with a 
provision that this rate should be doubled as soon as the 
work was commenced, and that any balance needed to make 
up the £25,000 should be supplied from the general revenue. 

The imperial government declined to advance the money 
for the purpose on these terms, and in the session of 1858 
parliament resolved that works should be constructed by the 
colony gradually as funds could be raised to meet the 
expense. The government then consulted Mr. — later Sir — 
John Coode, an eminent marine engineer, at whose request 
on the 12th of April 1859 Mr. Arthur Thomas Andrews was 
appointed resident engineer. This gentleman made a careful 
survey of the bay, and ascertained the direction and force of 
the various currents, so that Mr. Coode was able from his 
reports to draw up the plan which has since been carried 
out. This was laid before parliament in 1860, with the 
necessary specifications and estimates of cost, and being 
approved of, £200,000 was voted to commence the construc- 
tion of the breakwater. This grand work, which has made 
of Table Bay one of the safest and best ports in the world, 
was then begun under Mr. Andrews' supervision, the first 
stones being tipped by Prince Alfred, who was then on a 
visit to the colony, on the 17th of September 1860. In the 
session of 1861 parliament resolved to commence the con- 
struction of the large dock, which was part of the plan, and 
the requisite funds were raised for that purpose. 

Strenuous efforts were also being made at this time to 
improve some of the other ports of the colony. A company 

i860] Sir George Grey, 169 

was constructing a landing wharf and a patent slip in 
Simon's Bay, which was ready for use in August 1860, and 
was afterwards of much service for repairing small vessels. 

Port Elizabeth had thriven greatly, as the bulk of the 
wool, hides, and skins, not only from the colony itself but 
from the country beyond the Orange, was shipped there 
to be sent to England. A breakwater was projected to run 
out into the bay, which it was hoped would completely 
shelter the shipping. But upon its advance outward a little 
later than the date to which this chapter reaches, the current 
formed a great sandbank above it, so that its only effect 
was to move the landing place farther out. It was 
constructed of iron wood piles obtained in the forests at 
the Knysna and Plettenberg's Bay, which were driven in 
and bound together as a frame, that was afterwards filled 
with stone. It cost a large sum of money, but it became 
necessary to remove a great part of it, in order to restore 
the bay to its earlier condition. 

Ever since the arrival of the British settlers of 1820 
efforts had been made to create a flourishing port at the 
mouth of the Kowie river, but never with much success. 
On the 12th of October 1855 Port Frances was declared 
open for direct commerce with any part of the world, as 
previously only coasting vessels had frequented it. Mainly 
through the exertions of the indefatigable Mr. William 
Cock, an association called the Kowie Harbour Improve- 
ment Company was formed, which raised a capital in 
instalments of £6,250 each, and power to borrow equal 
amounts on the security of the government was given to 
it. This company engaged the services of an engineer 
named William Manning, who in April 1857 commenced 
to construct embankments with a view of increasing the 
depth of water on the bar. Fingo labourers were employed 
at low wages, and for some time success was anticipated, 
but the effort ended as all similar preceding endeavours 
had done, and the hopes of the projectors were again 

170 History of the Cape Colony. [i860 

Three more lighthouses were in course of erection on the 
colonial coast : one on the Cape of Good Hope, from which 
a brilliant revolving light was first exhibited on the 1st 
of May 1860 ; one on the hill at Port Elizabeth, opened for 
use on the 1st of June 1861 ; and one on the Roman rock 
in Simon's Bay, intended to replace the old lightship, and 
opened for use on the 16th of September 1861. 

Other public works of an important nature were being 
carried out at this time. The seats of magistracy were being 
provided with suitable courthouses and prisons. Several 
rivers were being bridged, and much was being done to 
improve the roads. In 1859 the building of the new 
Somerset hospital, in an excellent open position at Green 
Point, a suburb of Capetown, was commenced. 

This increase of expenditure was made possible by the 
rapid growth of the revenue and of the exports, as here 
shown, which also made it easy to borrow considerable sums. 





Customs ... 

• «*• • •• 




Transfer dues 

• • » • • a 




Auction dues 

• a 4 Ml 




Stamps and licenses 




Land revenue 

• *-• • • • 





■ • • a • ■ 




Fines and fees 

• • • ft • 




Sales of land 

* • • • • 





• • • « 









Customs .„. 

* ft • • • • 




Transfer dues 

■>•• ■ * 1 




Auction dues 

• » • • • • 




Stamps and licenses 




Land revenue 

• • • » ft) • 





fc • ft ft a ft 




Fines and fees 

» ft • ft ft ft 




Sales of land 

• • ♦ ft • • 





• »• * ft ft 




£463,179 £499,052 £546,474 


Sir George Grey, 



Hides and skins 


Copper ore 

Horses ... 

Corn, grain, and meal 

Dried fruit 

Dried fish 


Other articles ... 









































Wool ... 




Hides and skins 




Wine ... 




Copper ore 








Corn, grain, and meal 




Dried fruit 




Dried fish 




Aloes ... 




Other articles 




£1,818,080 £1,920,279 £1,806,598 

A project of sending out indigent children from Holland 
to be apprenticed to farmers in the Cape Colony was set 
on foot in 1856 by Mr. Beelaerts van Blokland, a native of 
Capetown, though resident since childhood in the Netherlands. 
Arrangements were made with great care for the safety and 
welfare of the children, and on the 16th of November 1856 
a party of seventy-three boys and twenty girls arrived at 
Capetown from Rotterdam, under the care of several families 
who were assisted to migrate by the same agency. These 
children immediately found suitable employers, who under- 
took to repay the greater portion of the expense of sending 
them out. On the 13th of June 1858 one hundred and 
three individuals arrived at Capetown from Amsterdam, who 
were followed on the 8th of July by forty others ; on the 
8th of January 1859 one hundred and twenty-six arrived 
from Rotterdam ; in 1860 one hundred and sixty- three, and 

172 History of the Cape Colony. t l8 57 

in 1861 one hundred and thirty-nine, arrived from Amsterdam ; 
and subsequently a few others from Holland occasionally 
reached South Africa. These consisted partly of children 
and partly of families, some of whom settled in the colony, 
and others moved northward to the republics. In the course 
of a few years they became so mixed with the rural population 
as to be undistinguishable from old residents. 

A few labourers were obtained from St. Helena in 1857 by 
an agent from the Cape who induced sixty-four adults and 
eleven children to remove. The parties into whose service 
they entered paid the cost of their passages with some little 
assistance from government. In this year also forty-five 
individuals were brought from Tristan d'Acunha, by her 
Majesty's ship Geyser ', and settled in the colony. 

During the session of the Cape parliament from the 7th 
of April to the 29th of June 1857 the subject of the great 
want of labourers was discussed, and on the governor's 
recommendation an excellent plan for obtaining a supply 
of artisans and — it was hoped — of farm servants was 
resolved upon. Public works could not then be undertaken 
without the introduction of men accustomed to manual 
labour, nor was the extension of agriculture or any other 
kind of industry possible without such assistance. Parliament 
resolved that only Europeans should be introduced. The 
capabilities of the colony were limited, and it would be 
treason to civilisation to bring in people of an inferior race, 
while expansion of the European element was possible. The 
future of South Africa was to be considered, as well as the 
immediate gain of the existing generation. 

In this spirit the immigration act of 1857 was passed, 
which was immediately put in force by the government. 
It provided for the introduction from Great Britain of 
gardeners, shepherds, farm servants of all kinds, male and 
female, and mechanics of every description with their 
families, provided they were of good character, free of 
disease or bodily defects, never recipients of parish aid, 
never convicted of any offence against the laws, under 

1 85 8 J Sir George Grey. 173 

forty-five years of age unless accompanied by stalwart 
families, and who had been in the habit of working for 
wages. To such persons a free passage was given at the 
cost of the colonial treasury, and they were provided for 
until they could obtain employment. 

Mr. William Field, previously collector of customs, was 
sent to England as emigration commissioner, and qualified 
agents were appointed to act under his directions. No 
person was to be sent out in the transports except with 
his approval. Depots, under the care of immigration boards, 
were established at Capetown and Port Elizabeth, where the 
immigrants were received and provided for temporarily. In 
all the towns in the colony committees were formed for 
the purpose of collecting information, and particularly for 
registering applications for immigrants with rates of wages 
offered. These committees corresponded with the boards in 
Capetown and Port Elizabeth, who kept the emigration 
commissioner in London constantly informed of the number 
and class of persons needed. It was noticeable that among 
the applicants for farm labourers were many who had 
themselves come to the colony in that capacity ten years 
before, and who had in the interval become employers. 
Nearly all the emigrants sent out under this system were 
British born. Provision was made for engaging foreign vine- 
dressers and persons employed in the manufacture of wine, 
but only a few German families of this class were obtained. 
Unfortunately, too, farm and domestic servants could not be 
procured in numbers sufficient to meet the demand, but as 
many artisans as were needed offered themselves. 

The first emigrant ship that conveyed passengers from 
Great Britain to South Africa under this system was the 
Gipsey Bride, that brought to Capetown on the 12th of 
May 1858 five hundred and fifteen men, women, and 
children, selected principally in Dumfriesshire, certainly as 
suitable a body of people to assist in the progress of the 
colony as could be wished for. On the 6th of July 1858 
the Aurifera brought to Port Elizabeth two hundred and 

174 History of South Africa, [ l8 59 

twenty-seven, and on the 23rd of the same month the 
Indian Queen four hundred and three English immigrants 
of an excellent class. The fourth ship was the Edward 
Oliver, that brought to Capetown on the 11th of September 
1858 four hundred and seventy-three mixed Scotch and 
English immigrants. 

In this year parliament resolved that any resident in the 
colony could have his relatives or friends brought out free 
of charge, so that thereafter the immigrants were not ex- 
clusively of the class first intended to be introduced. The 
cost to the government of the passage of an adult of either 
sex was from £13 10s. to £15 10s., but the benefit to the 
colony of the presence of so useful an individual was 
regarded as greatly exceeding that amount, and the govern- 
ment was empowered to contract a loan at six per cent 
interest for immigration purposes, if there should be no 
surplus available from the public revenue. 

In 1859 more immigrants arrived in South Africa than 
during any preceding year since the first European settle- 
ment. On the 23rd of January the Vocalist brought to 
Port Elizabeth four hundred and twenty individuals. On 
the 19th of May the Aurifera brought to Capetown two 
hundred and thirty-six, on the 28th of the same month the 
New Great Britain brought to Port Elizabeth two hundred 
and twenty-one, on the 27th of June the Bride brought to 
Capetown two hundred and fifty-nine, on the 8th of July 
the Shah Jehan brought to Port Elizabeth two hundred and 
eighty-eight, on the 26th of July the Burlington brought 
to Capetown two hundred and sixty-seven, on the 3rd of 
August the Coldstream brought to Port Elizabeth two 
hundred and fifty -eight, on the 23rd of September the Lord 
Raglan brought to Capetown two hundred and seventy- 
three, on the 9th of October the Chatham brought to Port 
Elizabeth two hundred and thirty-nine, on the 27th of 
October the Matilda Atheling brought to Capetown two 
hundred and eighty-five, on the 16th of November the 
Bermondsey brought to Port Elizabeth two hundred and 

1859] Sir George Grey. 175 

thirty, on the 16 th of December the Jalawar brought to 
Capetown two hundred and twenty-one, on the 22nd the 
Ceres brought to Capetown two hundred, and on the 25th 
the Ascendant brought to Port Elizabeth two hundred and 

In addition to these, a good many persons, who preferred 
to pay a portion of their passage money and proceed in the 
mail steamers rather than in the emigrant ships, were 
assisted with £10 for each adult, so that altogether during 
1858 and 1859 six thousand three hundred and forty-three 
British immigrants in the prime of life and consisting of 
almost equal numbers of each sex were introduced under 
this system into the Cape Colony. Some of them arrived 
with extravagant ideas of the wealth they would rapidly 
acquire, and at first were greatly disappointed. A few also, 
notwithstanding all the care that was taken, were unfit to 
make good colonists ; but the great majority throve and 
prospered. A striking proof of this was given in the 
numerous applications made by them to have their relatives 
and friends in England and Scotland sent out in the same 

Only one mishap occurred in the transport of all these 
people and their effects. On the 4th of September 1859 the 
ship John and Lucy left Liverpool with four hundred and 
six emigrants, bound to Table Bay, and on the 9th of 
October struck on a reef of rocks about thirty-five miles 
from Rio Grande on the coast of Brazil. The shore was ten 
or eleven miles distant, but every one on board was safely 
landed, as well as their effects, provisions, and sails to make 
temporary shelters. Six days later a steamer arrived from 
Rio Grande, and returned with two hundred and seventy- 
two of the shipwrecked people, On the 19th the British 
consul arrived with two small steamers, and took the others 
away. From Rio Grande they were all forwarded to 
Pernambuco, where they arrived on the 23rd. There the 
American barque Ceres was chartered, and in her two 
hundred reaebed Capetown on the 22nd of December. The 

176 History of the Cape Colony. [ l8 59 

others arrived safely in the steamer Stanley on the 14th of 
January 1860. 

During these years every mail steamer that arrived at 
Capetown brought passengers of the professional and com- 
mercial classes to make homes for themselves and their 
children in South Africa, though their number was not very 

In 1859 drought of unusual severity prevailed in the 
greater part of the colony, and in the eastern districts 
especially was so prolonged that even traffic in many 
places was suspended and agricultural industry entirely 
ceased. Wednesday, the 5th of October, was set apart and 
generally observed as a day of humiliation and prayer to 
Almighty God to favour the country with seasonable rain. 
Later in the summer fine showers fell in some parts, but in 
many places there were no crops that year, and food rose 
to very high prices. A plague too appeared in the eastern 
districts for the first time in the xanthium spinosum, or 
burr- weed, which had been known for several years in the 
neighbourhood of Simonstown, but nowhere else in the 
colony. This noxious plant throve where everything else 
was perishing, spread with amazing rapidity, and threatened 
the sheepfarmers with heavy loss unless it could be 
destroyed. Under these circumstances the immigration 
board at Port Elizabeth began to apprehend that the 
eastern province could not absorb as many people in future 
years as were then arriving, and recommended that a smaller 
number should be sent out gradually until matters 

In the west also a great disaster overtook a large and 
important section of the community at this time. The 
vines had always been subject to rust, and occasionally the 
vintage was much affected by its ravages, but from other 
diseases they had hitherto been exempt. In October 1859 the 
oidium made its appearance, and spread quickly from vine- 
yard to vineyard. Various remedies were suggested by Dr. 
Pappe, the colonial botanist, but were of no avail in 

i860] Sir George Grey. 177 

checking the scourge, though sulphur was found efficacious 
in destining it where it could be applied. So the ravages 
of the oidium went on increasing, and threatened to extir- 
pate the vine in the colony, until the importation of 
powdered sulphur in large quantities and the invention of 
the simple apparatus still in use for applying it to the 
foliage and fruit enabled the winefarmers to overcome the 

Of less importance than either drought or oidium as 
affecting the condition of the colony in 1859, but still not 
without some influence, was an outbreak of the smallpox in 
September 1858. In Capetown the dreaded disease prevailed 
to such an extent that it became necessary to open a special 
hospital at the Chavonnes battery, but in the course of the 
summer it died out, and on the 24th of Januarv 1859 the 
hospital was closed. During the winter, however, the disease 
appeared in several of the country districts, and caused much 
alarm, though its ravages were small when compared with 
those of former years. 

Owing to all these causes it was decided to limit state- 
aided immigration for a time, and the vote for that purpose 
was reduced in 1860 to £25,000, so that in this year only 
six transports arrived, three of which, the Maria Somes, 
the Wellington, and the Royal Charlie, brought to Capetown 
six hundred and seventy-five individuals, and the other 
three, the Tudor, the John Masterton, and the Sedgemoor, 
conveyed seven hundred and nine to Port Elizabeth. In 
1861 the Royal Albert and the Sedgemoor brought to Cape- 
town four hundred and eighty individuals, and forty-four 
others were sent out in a freight ship ; and the Bride, the 
Rajasthan, and the Coldstream brought to Port Elizabeth 
seven hundred and forty-six men, women, and children. 

At this time also some immigrants of an excellent class 
were received from Northern Germany. Many industrious 
agricultural families, who were disappointed in not being 
sent to British Kaffraria, paid their passages from Hamburg 
to Capetown, and came out in little parties in cargo vessels. 
vol. in. M 

178 History of the Cape Colony. t l8 59 

In 1860 two hundred and sixty-seven, and in 1861 seven 
hundred and forty -one men, women, and children, were thus 
added to the population of the colony. 

South Africa was now under five distinct governments, 
each in a position to pursue a policy different from that of 
all the others. This was advantageous as far as purely 
local matters were concerned, but for a few Europeans, at 
the extremity of a continent peopled with barbarians, to be 
thus disunited was a matter that thoughtful men could 
only regret. To protect themselves union was needed, to 
raise the coloured races to a higher level a uniform mode of 
dealing with them was essential. The country was still in a 
plastic state, for time had not yet hardened the different 
sections so that they could not readily fuse, and circum- 
stances were in operation in 1859 that would have made the 
union of at least four of the separate communities — the 
Cape Colony, the Orange Free State, Natal, and British 
Kaffraria — particularly easy. The northern republic might, 
and probably would, have held aloof at first ; but as a small 
body is attracted by a large one in space and has no inde- 
pendent movement of its own, so the feeble state would have 
been compelled to follow the ideals of the powerful one until 
interest drew it too into union. 

Sir George Grey looked at South Africa, and saw the 
possibility of a splendid future. Between the Kei and the 
Bashee the land was then almost unoccupied. So was the 
wide plateau at the foot of the Kathlamba, from the Indwe 
to Natal. If these large tracts were occupied by Europeans, 
what a grand province would Kaffraria not be, what a 
fulcrum would the lever of civilisation not have to rest upon. 
And it would cost Great Britain nothing, not even the 
maintenance of an additional battalion of troops. On the 
contrary, it would increase to some small, but still 
appreciable, extent her commerce and her manufactures. 
It would not wrong a single black man, and it would im- 
prove the position of many whites. But there was a great 
fear of expansion at the time in England, and men there 

1859] Sir George Grey. 179 

could not see that additional territory, unless occupied by 
hostile people, does not necessarily entail additional cost 
for protection. Great Britain, as undisputed mistress of the 
sea, had it in her power to take possession of whatever 
portions of the earth's surface were unclaimed by other 
civilised states, and what can be had for the picking up is 
seldom valued by nations or individuals. It was only when 
other powers began to grasp the waste places that her eyes 
were opened to their value, and then it was too late to reap 
all the benefits that would have been derived from earlier 
expansion. Palpable, therefore, as it was to Sir George Grey 
that a strong English settlement east of the Kei would be 
of great importance to South Africa, no enlargement of 
colonial boundaries was possible at this time. 

But federation of the existing states was a different 
thing, and the governor could see no reason why the 
English people and government should object to that, for it 
could not add in any way to the imperial burden, but on 
the contrary would greatly diminish military expenditure. 
And so he brought the subject before the Cape parliament, 
when he opened the session on the 17th of March 1859, in 
the following words: 

"I have received from the government of the Orange 
Free State a request that I would ascertain whether you 
would be inclined to promote, as far as lies in your power, 
a federal union with that state, and whether you would 
appoint a commission to meet a deputation chosen by the 
Free State government, to agree upon the preliminary terms 
of such a federal union, which it might then be practicable 
to submit for the approval of both governments. Your 
present session would afford a convenient opportunity, in 
connection with this application of the Free State govern- 
ment, for considering the whole question of the possibility 
of uniting the several portions of South Africa under some 
common government. 

"You would, in my belief, confer a lasting benefit upon 
Great Britain, and upon the inhabitants of this country, if 

180 History of the Cape Colony. [1859 

you could succeed in devising a form of federal union under 
which the several provinces comprising it should have full 
and free scope of action left to them, through their own 
local governments and legislatures, upon all subjects relating 
to their individual prosperity and happiness, whilst they 
should act under a general federal government in relation 
to all points which concerned the general safety or weal. 

"Under such a form of government, a number of the 
inhabitants in each province would be trained to take 
general views upon the highest subjects relating to the 
general welfare. No war could be entered upon but with 
the consent of the general government representing all the 
provinces. If any dispute arose between any of the 
provinces and a native chief, the demands made upon such 
chief would be most probably just ones, for they would be 
considered by a large and impartial body, and they would, 
from this cause, and from the known power of the 
federation by which they were made, command respect. 

" Under such a system it may, I think, be reasonably 
expected that additional security would be obtained through- 
out all South Africa for life and property ; that the greatest 
confidence would be reposed in the decisions of the courts 
of justice constituted by the general government ; that an 
additional stimulus and encouragement would be given to 
talent, by the openings offered to it in the senate, on the 
judicial bench, or at the bar ; that increased facilities would 
be given to trade and commerce, by uniformity of insolvent 
laws and laws regulating bills of exchange, as also of judicial 
decisions relating to mercantile causes. 

" Prosperity and contentment would also follow from a 
fair proportionate application, throughout the whole of South 
Africa, of the general customs revenues, to which all alike 
contribute, whilst a great increase in the revenues would 
follow from the stimulus given to trade and industry by 
peace and prosperity, so that the very province, or provinces, 
which might abandon a share of the whole revenues they now 
enjoy, might reasonably hope to gain more than they gave up. 

l8 59] Sir George Grey. 181 

" At present, South Africa, broken up into various 
European and native states, some of which are almost 
without revenues, without firm governments, and are 
involved in intestine and foreign disputes, appears to be 
drifting into an uncertain and gloomy future, to provide 
against the exigencies of which it is in a great degree 
powerless, whilst under a good system of federation, the 
inhabitants of the southern part of this continent would be 
able to unite for their common interests and defence, and 
to provide, year by year, for the exigencies of the country 
as these might arise." 

There had been some correspondence between Sir George 
Grey and Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, who on the 31st of 
May 1858 succeeded Lord Stanley at the colonial office, 
concerning the union under a common government of the 
different British possessions in South Africa, in which the 
governor had been asked for his opinion ; and he, knowing 
that this could not be effected for geographical reasons 
without the inclusion of the Orange Free State in order to 
form one compact territory, or for political reasons without 
the consent of the Cape parliament, believed that he was 
justified in thus bringing the question forward. The members 
of the executive council concurred in this view, and advised 
him to act as he did. On the other hand, in reply to a 
request made by him to Lord Stanle}' for instructions as to 
what answer he should give if application were made to 
him by the inhabitants of the Orange Free State for union 
with the Cape Colony under a federal form of government, 
Sir E. B. Lytton on the 5th of November 1858 had directed 
him to state that he could say nothing without previous 
instructions from her Majesty's government. Thus, much as 
every one interested in South Africa must now deplore that 
Sir George Grey's grand designs were thwarted, it is evident 
that in advocating federal union between the British posses- 
sions and a republic that would then cease to be independent, 
he did so without the previous knowledge and consent of 
the imperial authorities. And there is, and undoubtedly 

182 History of the Cape Colony. L l8 59 

should be, an understood and denned limit to the action of 
a governor in matters of such great importance, for otherwise 
control of any kind would cease. 

On the 22nd of December 1858 he informed Sir E. B. 
Lytton that the volksraad of the Orange Free State had on 
the 7th of that month passed a resolution that " this raad is 
convinced that a union or alliance with the Cape Colony, 
whether on the basis of federation or otherwise, is desirable, 
and therefore resolves to request his Honour the president 
to correspond with his Excellency the governor upon that 
subject, in order, by that means, to learn whether the Cape 
parliament will show itself disposed towards such union, and 
whether the government of the colony will receive a commission 
from the Orange Free State, at some town in the eastern 
province, if practicable, for the purpose of planning the 
approximate terms of such union with that government or 
with a commission appointed by it, such terms to be here- 
after submitted for the approval of both governments." He 
added that it was apparent that the Orange Free State was 
inclined to enter into such a federation as he had proposed, 
and therefore no insuperable difficulties would exist in carrying 
it out if her Majesty's government were disposed to regard 
it as being likely to promote the interests of the empire. 

To this he received a reply, dated 11th of February 1859, 
that " her Majesty's government were not prepared to depart 
from the settled policy of their predecessors by advising the 
resumption of British sovereignty in any shape over the 
Orange Free State." When this despatch was received the 
governor recognised for the first time that federation such as 
he had proposed was absolutely prohibited, and he at once 
informed the houses of parliament that her Majesty's govern- 
ment refused to consent to the resumption of dominion over 
the Free State. The subject then dropped, and thus the 
favourable opportunity for the federation of the European 
settlements in South Africa was hopelessly lost. 

On the 5th of May 1859 the secretary of state informed 
the governor that he had just received a copy of the speech 

1859] Sir George Grey. 183 

at the opening of parliament, and had read with great 
surprise and regret that passage in it which contained an 
invitation to consider the propriety of a federal union with 
the Orange Free State and still further to appoint a com- 
mission to meet a deputation from that state to agree upon 
the preliminary terms of such a union. Without loss of time 
he felt bound to express the disapproval of her Majesty's 
government, but reserved till the next mail his final decision 
in the case. 

On the 4th of June that decision was announced. Sir 
George Grey was informed that he had placed her Majesty's 
government in England, as well as the local government 
under his charge, in a position of extreme embarrassment 
and difficulty. The Cape parliament was then fully acquainted 
with the fact that a course of policy which he had sedulously 
recommended in his opening speech was one which the crown 
had been distinctly advised by its ministers then in office 
not to adopt. This question of policy was one on which 
difference of opinion between a governor and the home 
authorities could not be overlooked as of minor consequence. 
It was, on the contrary, one of the highest and most vital 
importance at once to the Cape Colony and to the mother 
country. It was for her Majesty's government alone to 
determine whether steps should be taken towards annexing 
or reannexing extensive regions, then under independent 
governments, to the empire. This being the case, they had 
come, with great and painful reluctance, to the conclusion 
that he had so far compromised them and endangered the 
success of that policy which they, deemed right and expedient 
in South Africa, that his continuance in the administration 
of the government of the Cape could be no longer of service 
to public interests. 

Two other instances of his acting upon his own responsi- 
bility, without previous instructions from the secretary of 
state — the introduction of German immigrants and financial 
arrangements in British Kaffraria — were also alluded to in 
this despatch. His great ability and merits were recognised, 

184 History of South Africa. [ l8 59 

but her Majesty's government could not safely continue to 
entrust with his present functions one committed, as he had 
committed himself, to a policy of which they disapproved 
on a subject of the first importance, nor could they expect 
from him the necessary assistance, when steps, which he 
had taken without that authority, had of necessity to be 

The feeling throughout South Africa when this became 
known was one not alone of deep regret, but of general 
consternation. The Europeans recalled to mind that the two 
ablest and most popular of the preceding governors, Sir 
Benjamin D'Urban and Sir Harry Smith, had been deprived 
of office, and their projects for the improvement of the 
country had been reversed, because those projects were not 
appreciated by the dominant party in England. And now 
Sir George Grey was made to suffer in the same manner. 
But a new factor was in evidence in South African politics, 
which had no existence in the time of Sir Benjamin 
D'Urban or of Sir Harry Smith, a factor which owed its 
being to the benevolent measures of Sir George Grey with 
regard to the Bantu and blacks generally. These people 
recognised that in losing him they were losing one who had 
become to them as a father, and their sorrow was conse» 
quently keen. Those among them who were capable of 
giving expression to their feelings therefore joined with the 
English and Dutch colonists in petitions to the queen that 
she would be pleased to restore to them the governor who 
had such a strong claim on their affections and their esteem. 

On the 18th of June 1859, just a fortnight after the 
despatch removing Sir George Grey was written, the earl of 
Derby was succeeded as prime minister by Lord Palmerston, 
and the duke of Newcastle became secretary of state for the 
colonies. One of the first subjects that he investigated was 
that of recent transactions in South Africa, and, after 
carefully considering all the circumstances, he announced 
that he agreed with Sir E. B. Lytton in strong disapproval 
of the governor's conduct, not only in respect of the 

1859] Sir George Grey. 185 

question of federation, but also of the introduction of 
German immigrants and the expenditure incurred in British 
Kaffraria. Such repudiation of the authority of the home 
government in matters of general policy, and on subjects 
involving outlay from imperial funds, could never be 
tolerated without an entire abandonment of the duty of the 
secretary of state. 

But he bore in mind that Sir George Grey was in the 
midst of a great work, engaged in for the benefit of the 
coloured people and the establishment of peaceful relations 
between them and the colonists. He recognised the 
governor's eminent public services and proved fitness for 
tasks of this important and difficult character, and he was 
unwilling to interrupt that work. The ministry was ready, 
therefore, to continue Sir George Grey in office, but upon 
the condition that he felt himself sufficiently free and un- 
compromised with the Cape parliament and the inhabitants 
of the Orange Free State to be able personally to carry into 
effect the policy of her Majesty's government, which was 
entirely opposed to those measures tending to the resumption 
of authority over that state of which he had publicly 
expressed his approval. 

This despatch was written on the 4th of August, but 
before it could reach South Africa Sir George Grey was on 
his way to England. On the 20th of August he transferred 
the administration to Lieutenant- General Robert Henry 
Wynyard, who three months before — on the 20th of May — 
had succeeded Sir James Jackson as lieutenant-governor and 
commander of the forces, and on the following day he left 
South Africa. 

During the administration of General Wynyard nothing 
of much importance took place. An officer who is acting 
only temporarily cannot initiate any large schemes, and 
merely keeps the machinery of government in motion in the 
groove in which he finds it. 

The colony was now assisting greatly in its own defence. 
It had been Sir George Grey's desire to relieve Great 

186 History of the Cape Colony. [i860 

Britain ot military expenditure as much as possible, and 
he had therefore encouraged the formation of bands of 
volunteers, of which there were at this time over twenty 
enrolled, armed, and drilled in the principal towns and 
villages, mustering in all thirteen hundred men. The 
frontier armed and mounted police, a purely colonial force, 
mustered six hundred men exclusive of officers, and was a 
most efficient body of light cavalry. The men who held their 
farms under military tenure on the frontier and in British 
Kaffraria were also an excellent defensive force, and since 
1854 no military operations in the country had been con- 
ducted except by colonists and at the cost of the colonial 
treasury. Still, in 1860 Great Britain maintained in South 
Africa five battalions of troops, including the Cape mounted 
rifles, then nearly a thousand strong. In April 1859 the 
45th left for England, and in March 1860 the first battalion 
of the 2nd sailed for China. In April 1859 the second 
battalion of the 13th arrived from England, and in 
February 1860 the second battalion of the 10th from 
Ireland. These, with the 59th and 85th, whose arrival has 
already been mentioned, were in garrison in Capetown and 
in posts on the frontier, in British Kaffraria, and Natal. Alto- 
gether, these four infantry battalions mustered about three 
thousand two hundred and fifty rank and file. There were 
also a few engineers and artillerymen, stationed at the 
principal posts. 

Sir George Grey found on his arrival in England that the 
ministry, the opposition, and the people generally were 
inflexibly opposed to any extension of the empire. They 
listened patiently to his arguments in favour of the union 
of South Africa under the British flag, but refused to be 
convinced. Only a few far-seeing men concurred in his 
opinion as to the advantages, alike to the mother country 
and to its offshoots, that would arise from great members 
of the empire beyond the seas, strong enough to protect 
themselves from internal foes, rich enough to carry on an 
enormously extended commerce, and bound together by the 

i860] Lieutenant -Genera I Wynyard. 187 

strongest ties of affection and interest, because absolutely 
free to shape their destinies according to their own wishes. 
Like Sir Harry Smith, he was in advance of his time, but 
he was even more liberal than his distinguished predecessor, 
for he favoured responsible parliamentary government for 
the colony. 

But, though his grandest views were thwarted, there was 
still much that he could do in South Africa, and it was a 
land that he loved. He knew its people, knew how baseless 
were the charges of semi-barbarism so often made against the 
old colonists, recognised in them as well as in the British 
dwellers on the same soil a sturdy, brave, liberty-loving 
people, and he was willing to devote himself to the task of 
striving to bring the two races more closely together for 
the benefit of both. In the coloured people also he took a 
very warm interest ; they could be led onward in the path 
of civilisation, and brought to do their share in the progress 
of the country. And so he abandoned what he saw was 
impossible of accomplishment, and consented to return as 
governor and high commissioner on the condition laid down 
by the duke of Newcastle. On the 4th of July 1860 he 
arrived in Simon's Bay again in the frigate Forte, and was 
received with the warmest acclamations of welcome by all 
classes of the people. 



In British Kaffraria Sir George Grey found matters in a 
very unsatisfactory state. The few Europeans in the 
province were under his direct government as high 
commissioner, but nothing definite had yet been decided 
upon by the imperial authorities as to the form of its 
administration or the settlement of the crown reserve. On 
the 14th of December 1850 letters patent constituting the 
territory a separate dependency of Great Britain with a 
lieutenant-governor had been issued, but they had never 
been promulgated, and were now regarded as obsolete. Sir 
George Cathcart proposed to the imperial authorities that 
the land north of the Amatola range, that is the tract 
usually termed in South Africa the Bontebok flats, should 
be annexed to the Cape Colony, which was approved of, 
and on the 7th of March 1854 letters patent were issued to 
that effect; the crown reserve, or the whole; of the forest 
belt below the range, he left in nearly the same condition 
as the district between the Fish and the Keiskama under 
Lord Charles Somerset's arrangement with Gaika in 1819. 
To the Xosa chiefs in the remainder of the territory he had 
restored absolute independence as far as the government of 
their own people was concerned. Even murder of one 
black by another was not noticed, and when a man fled to 
a military post for protection against a witchfinder he was 
told that he must apply to his chief for redress, because no 
European court was open to him. Colonel John Maclean 
remained with the title of chief commissioner, and resided 





(Jeorge Allen & Unwin. Ltd. 



1854] British Kaffraria. 189 

at Fort Murray, and Mr. Charles Brownlee, who had the 
title of Gaika commissioner, resided at Dohne, but neither 
was more than a diplomatic agent. Scattered about at 
different posts were two thousand four hundred and seventy- 
eight officers and soldiers, with two thousand two hundred 
and twent3 7 -eight others to support them in case of need at 
stations in the colony. 

Sir George Cat heart in a letter to Colonel Maclean, dated 
19th of January 1854, stated his views concisely : " military 
control, not colonization, is the principle of policy which has 
induced me to advise the retention of Kaffraria as a separate 
government, independent of the colony of the Cape, instead of 
annexing it as a new colonial division, or abandoning it 
altogether." Accordingly he had not allowed any Europeans 
to settle in it except a few camp followers, to whom per- 
mission was given to reside temporarily at the military 
posts at Keiskama Hoek, Izeli, and Dohne, where they 
could be of service to the troops. The residents in King- 
Williamstown were allowed to remain, but they were only 
a few hundred in number. Captain Richard Taylor, a retired 
officer of the rifle brigade, was stationed here as resident 
magistrate, but he had jurisdiction over Europeans only. 
With the exception of the crown reserve, the entire district 
was parcelled out among the Kaffir clans, though military 
posts, with circles of land four miles in diameter kept open 
around them, were scattered about. 

Under this system there could be no improvement. Sir 
George Grey saw this at once, and resolved to make a great 
change. His first step was to induce the chiefs to accept a 
fixed salary from government, in return for which they were 
to surrender their right to fines imposed on their people, 
and to admit a European agent appointed by him to sit in 
their courts as an assessor. The fines were to be paid into 
the territorial treasury. Some of the chiefs demurred to 
this, especially to giving up their right to fines for murder 
and aggravated assault, as that would imply the renuncia- 
tion of their claim to their people as personal property, but 

190 History of South Africa. [ l8 55 

ultimately they all gave their consent. Lieutenant Henry 
Lucas, of the 45th regiment, was then appointed magistrate 
with Makoma, Captain Robert Jameson Eustace Robertson, 
of the 60th regiment, magistrate with Anta, Major John 
Cox Gawler, of the 73rd regiment, magistrate with Umhala, 
Captain Frederick Reeve, of the 73rd regiment, magistrate 
with Kama, and Mr. Herbert Vigne magistrate with Pato. 
Mr. Charles Brownlee was directed to act in the same 
capacity with Sandile. 

The next step was to induce the Kaffirs to become 
industrious. For this purpose roads were laid out in 
various parts of British Kaffraria, and bands of blacks 
were engaged to work on them under European overseers. 
They came forward readily even at first when they were 
asked to work in parties where they could have the com- 
panionship of their fellows, and where ample rations of 
beef, millet, and tobacco were provided for them, in addition 
to wages at the rate of six pence a day for each man. 
They seldom remained, however, longer than two or three 
months at a time, when they returned to their homes for 
a period of rest. They soon became fairly expert with the 
pickaxe, shovel, and barrow, though they never were able 
to do as much as English labourers. 

Watercourses were also made, one in King-Williamstown 
to supply the military post and the residents, and one at 
the kraal of each important chief to irrigate a large plot 
of ground. It was hoped by this means that the chiefs and 
people would come to see the value of such undertakings, 
and that with abundance of grain for their own use and 
for sale, they would be more contented and happy. 

At the mouth of the Buffalo river in October 1856 the 
construction of training walls was commenced under direction 
of Mr. Woodford Pilkington, a civil engineer. The object 
was to narrow the outlet of the stream and turn its course 
in the same direction as that of the current along the coast, 
instead of their meeting at a right angle. It was hoped that 
this would cause such a strong flow of water at the time of 

1855] British Kaffraria. 191 

failing tide that the sand bar, which prevented the entrance 
of vessels into the deep and large basin higher up, would be 
washed away. The work was not carried very far, however, 

at this time. 

To break the belief of the Kaffirs in the power of witch- 
craft, Sir George Grey resolved to build a hospital where 
their sick could have the benefit of medical treatment free 
of charge. Already some cases which had been given up 
as hopeless by Bantu practitioners, and which had been 
pronounced by them to be due to powerful witchcraft, had 
been successfully treated at Dohne Post by Dr. H. Veriker 
Bindon, of the 6th regiment, and this had excited much 
attention among the Gaikas. A large and constant demand 
was made upon Dr. Bindon's benevolence by sick persons, 
who were brought to him by their friends for treatment. 
The high commissioner therefore caused the fine building in 
King-Williamstown ever since termed the Grey Hospital to 
be put up, and attached spacious grounds to it on all sides. 
The work was carried out largely by military labourers, but 
Kaffirs were employed to assist as much as possible. A 
talented and amiable physician, Dr. J. P. Fitzgerald, with 
whom Sir George Grey had been acquainted in New Zealand, 
was secured to take charge. In February 1856 he arrived, 
and soon had the institution in perfect working order. Two 
other physicians skilled in special branches, Doctors Charles 
James Egan and James Peters, and a qualified dispenser were 
then added to the staff. In the hospital sick blacks were 
received, wherever they came from, and were maintained and 
tended without payment as long as they needed such assistance. 
It proved in time a powerful agency in counteracting the belief 
in diseases being caused by witchcraft, but the impression made 
upon the people generally was slower and more gradual in its 
operation than the high commissioner had anticipated. 

The establishment of industrial schools in which Bantu 
children could be taught the trades of the carpenter, smith, 
waggonmaker, and other mechanics, was encouraged by Sir 
George Grey. Two such institutions that have since been 

192 History of South Africa, [ l8 55 

greatly developed, and are still doing excellent work : that 
at Healdtown in the district of Fort Beaufort, established 
by the Wesleyan society, and that at Lovedale in the district 
of Victoria East, established by the Free Church of Scotland, 
were grafted upon earlier mission schools at this time, and 
received subsidies from the government. These were, 
however, beyond the border of British Kaffraria. 

All these items cost money, and the revenue of the 
province was trifling. But the imperial authorities sup- 
ported the views of Sir George Grey for the reclamation 
of the Kaffirs, and in each of the years 1855, 1856, and 1857 
supplied him with £40,000 to carry them into effect. 

For the security of the province, and to enable the 
garrison to be reduced, the high commissioner proposed to 
the secretary of state to introduce European settlers on a 
plan that he had tried with excellent results in New 
Zealand. On the 7th of March 1855 he wrote asking that 
one thousand families of enrolled pensioners should be sent 
out at once, to be followed gradually by four thousand 
families more. He intended to station these people at the 
different military posts, and to provide each family with a 
cottage and an acre of ground, to which title should be 
given after seven years occupation. The settlers would 
have their pensions and their gardens to live upon, and 
their children, he believed, would find better openings as 
they grew up in British Kaffraria than they could in 

So convinced was he that this plan would be successful 
that he at once set about preparing cottages in King- 
Williamstown for the first families that should arrive. 
Adjoining the village then existing two long streets crossing 
each other at right angles were laid out, and on each side 
of them plots of ground were marked off, on which in the 
winter of 1855 military labourers began to put up cottages. 
They were built of brick, and covered with thatch, the roof 
projecting in front to form a verandah. Each contained 
two rooms, and as two cottages adjoined and were under 

1856] British Kaffraria. 193 

one roof, the cost of erection was only between £30 and 
£40 for each. The name of the officer who laid off Queen- 
street and Cambridge-road in King- William stown, and who 
superintended the erection of the first cottages along them, 
is of mournful interest in South Africa, being George 
Pomeroy Colley. He was then a lieutenant in the 2nd 
regiment. When the proposal was made to them, a sufficient 
number of married enrolled pensioners in England declined 
to remove to British Kaffraria, and the cottages were then 
given to married soldiers — mostly non-commissioned officers — 
discharged in the province. The part of the town in which 
they stand is still known as the Pensioners' village. 

After the failure of this plan of introducing settlers, the 
imperial authorities resolved to send out volunteers from 
the British German legion, a corps that had been raised for 
service in the Crimea and that was not needed after April 
1856, when peace was concluded with Russia. An offer 
was made to the men of the legion if they would proceed 
as military settlers to British Kaffraria to send them out 
and disband them there. They were to agree to remain 
seven years in the province after being located, and were to 
receive free rations or an equivalent in money for themselves 
and their families for one year, six pence a day for three 
years, an acre of ground and a building lot in a village, 
right of grazing cattle over a commonage, £18 in money 
towards the cost of building a cottage, their arms and camp 
equipments, and the temporary use of tents. To the officers 
proportional advantages were offered. As it was believed 
that the settlement of the legion in British Kaffraria on 
these conditions would tend greatly towards the protection 
of the Cape Colony, the secretaiy of state thought that part 
of the expense should be defrayed by the colonists, in which 
view the Cape parliament concurred, on the understanding 
that the men would be accompanied by their wives and 
families, and on the 30th of May 1856 voted £40,000 for the 
purpose, with a promise of a further amount of £6,000 or 
£7,000 yearly. 


194 History of South Africa. [1856 

It was supposed that the whole of the legion would 
volunteer, but the majority of the men declined to do so. 
Those who accepted the terms embarked in seven steam 
transports, together with the wives and children of a few 
of them who had in the meantime been brought over to 
England from Germany. Then permission was given to 
the single men to take English wives with them, and two 
hundred and three marriages were entered into on board 
the ships just before they sailed. The first of the steamers 
arrived in Table Bay on the 30th of December 1856, the 
last on the 9th of February 1857, and they brought out one 
hundred and six officers, thirty-eight wives of officers, two 
thousand two hundred and forty-five men, three hundred 
and forty-three women, and one hundred and seventy-eight 
children. These immigrants were conveyed to East London, 
and there distributed in various villages in British KafFraria, 
to most of which German names, such as Breidbach, Berlin, 
Potsdam, etc., were thereafter given. To the post at Dohne 
the title of the commander of the legion, the baron von 
Stutterheim, was given ; it is now again often termed 
Dohne, but the district of which it is the seat of magistracy 
is called the district of Stutterheim. A considerable number 
of the men were located in King-Williamstown, on ground 
adjoining the Pensioners' village. The town thus assumed 
the straggling appearance which it long presented, though 
of late years the population has so increased that the open 
spaces have been built upon, and it is now compact from 
end to end. The part upon which the men of the legion 
were located is still called the German village. 

Before the arrival of the legion and the occupation of the 
Pensioners' village in King-Williamstown, there were only 
nine hundred and forty-nine Europeans other than military 
residing in British KafFraria. Of these, six hundred and 
twenty-six were in King-Williamstown, two hundred and 
sixty-seven at various military posts, and fifty-six at mission 
stations. There were one hundred and twenty-four Europeans 
resident in East London, which was not then part of the 

1855] Britisk Raffraria* 195 

province.. Of the whole, four hundred and twenty-four 
were men, two hundred and seven women, and four hundred 
and forty-two children. 

Peace with the Xosas and Terabus was hardly concluded 
when the frontier colonists became apprehensive that it 
would not be maintained long, and indeed the conduct of 
the leading chiefs gave them abundant cause for suspicion. 
It soon became evident that a close union between Pato's 
clan and the Gaikas was being formed, and that the Fingos 
were being tampered with. Professions of friendship towards 
those people were openly made by chiefs who had previously 
never spoken of them but as of dogs matrimonial connections 
with them were encouraged, and offences against them were 
severely punished. 

From the time of the first settlement of Fingos in the 
district of Peddie by Sir Benjamin D'Urban, some thoughtful 
men had regarded as extremely hazardous the experiment of 
placing parties of barbarians on the border to protect the 
colony from other barbarians speaking the same language 
and having similar customs, though a violent feud existed 
between them ; but it was only when Sir Harry Smith, 
through sheer necessity, brought in another large body of 
the same people that general alarm was felt. Their old 
locations had already become overcrowded, through an 
amazing natural increase added to a constant influx of 
strangers from beyond the Kei. The chiefs were clamorous 
for more land, and if they were permitted to occupy a tract 
of country temporarily were loud in complaints if they 
were afterwards required to abandon it. Men who knew 
them well were of opinion that as long as the government 
had anything to give the Fingos would be faithful, but 
when nothing was left to dispose of trouble was to be 
expected from them. 

In the session of parliament in 1855 a committee of the 
legislative council, that was appointed to investigate this 
matter, on the 21st of May reported that early in October 
1854 indications of restlessness and excitement among the 

196 History of South Africa. [ l8 55 

Fingos residing on the locations in the divisions of Victoria 
East and Fort Beaufort were first observed and brought 
under the notice of government. This state of feeling did 
not appear to have been confined to any particular location, 
but to have existed generally among the Fingos on the 
immediate frontier. No overt act sufficient to excite 
general apprehension of danger on the part of the Euro- 
pean inhabitants had been committed, however, either by 
any of the Kaffir chiefs or the headmen of the Fingos, with 
one exception. Jokweni, a Fingo chief residing near Fort 
Peddie, taking advantage of the excited feelings of his 
countrymen, had made overtures to some of the Kaffir 
chiefs, stating that the government was about to institute 
laws under which they could not live, that his sympathies 
were with those of his own race, and that he desired 
again to reside with his people among the Kaffirs, for 
the purpose of being beyond reach of British authority. 

These overtures were favourably entertained by the 
Kaffirs. A large beer-drinking meeting was held, at which 
most of the border chiefs were present, as well as several 
Fingos of influence. At this meeting the expediency of 
forming an alliance with the Fingos was discussed, and the 
conclusion arrived at was that such an alliance was 
desirable and that it should be promoted by intermarriage, 
the chiefs and headmen first setting the example. The 
proposed confederacy of the tribes for hostile purposes 
was prospective, there being no evidence v.o show that any 
immediate outbreak was intended. Through the vigilance 
of the chief commissioner in British KafFraria, early 
intimation of the proceedings of this meeting was for- 
warded to the government, and prompt measures were 
taken by the lieutenant-general in command of the forces 
to provide against any emergency. These precautionary 
measures, and the arrival of a detachment of troops at the 
Buffalo mouth, checked any hostile intentions, if such 
existed, on the part of the adjacent clans, but they added 
to the excitement generally felt by the European residents 

1856] British Kaffraria. 197 

along the border, by rousing apprehensions of immediate 

Shortly after the above report was made to parliament it 
became known that Kreli was seeking to form alliances with 
the tribes behind him, and that there was a close though 
secret intercourse between him and the Basuto chief Moshesh. 
Instead of subsiding therefore, the state of uneasiness con- 
tinued through 1855, and at the beginning of 1S56 proofs 
that hostile intentions were entertained by the chiefs were 
so strong that Sir James Jackson urged upon the military 
authorities in England the necessity of immediately rein- 
forcing the garrison with four or five regiments. The apparent 
cordial reception of the governor's plans by the leading chiefs 
had been intended by them merely to deceive him, as they 
subsequently admitted, for they regarded the existing con- 
dition of things not as peace, but as a truce. Sir George 
Grey hoped that hostilities might be averted if the British 
pensioners or the German legion should arrive at once, but 
was disappointed when none of the former came out, and 
such a small proportion of the latter. 

Meantime some of the best troops that had served during 
the war had been withdrawn from South Africa. In 
November 1853 the first battalion of the rifle brigade left 
for England, and in December of the same year the 12th 
lancers, the 43rd, and the 74th highlanders were sent to 
India. In July 1855 the reserve battalion of the 91st left 
for England. There were left in the colony, British Kafrrariaj 
and Natal the first battalion of the 2nd, the 6th, the second 
battalion of the 12th, the united battalions of the 45th, the 
second battalion of the 60th, and the 73rd, in all six bat- 
talions, some of which were defective in numerical strength. 
In addition to these there was the Cape mounted rifle regiment, 
now a mixed body of Europeans and Hottentots, and the 
frontier armed and mounted police, by far the most service- 
able body of men on the border. 

Early in 1856 matters looked so threatening that the 
governor forwarded every available soldier from Capetown 

198 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 e 

to the frontier, and sent a steam ship of war to Mauritius 
to ask for assistance. The government of Mauritius 
complied with his request, and in June 1856 the 85th 
regiment, supplied by that island, landed at Port Elizabeth, 
and marched at once to the border. In September the first 
battalion of the 13th and the 80th regiment arrived from 
England and were immediately added to the force on the 
frontier, and the 89th came out at the same time, but one 
wing was kept in Capetown. Recruits for the other 
regiments were also supplied, so that the South African 
garrison was made up to ten strong battalions. 

The spread of the lung sickness among cattle from the 
Cape Colony into British Kaffraria in 1855 tended to in- 
crease the disposition of the people for war. It made its 
appearance first among the herds of Pato and Umhaia, and 
was attributed by the people to witchcraft caused by the 
white man. It was of no use telling them that the colonists' 
own herds had suffered greatly from the disease, so that 
Europeans were not likely to have been the originators of 
it, for they seemed to have lost the power of reasoning on 
the matter. In presence of the calamity, which they could 
not explain, nothing was too improbable or absurd for them 
to believe. 

Matters were in this condition when one morning in May 
1856 a girl about thirteen or fourteen years of age, named 
Nongqause, daughter of a counsellor of Kreli, went to draw 
water from a little stream that flowed past her home. On 
her return, she informed her father's brother — a man who 
long before this had professed to have wonderful visions — 
that she had seen by the river some men who differed 
greatly in appearance from those she was accustomed to 
meet. Umhlakaza, as her uncle was named, went to see 
the strangers, and found them at the place indicated. They 
told him to return to his hut and purify himself with the 
usual ceremonies, after which he was to offer an ox in 
sacrifice to the spirits of the dead, and to come back 
to them on the fourth day. There was that in their 

1856] British Kaffraria. 199 

appearance which commanded obedience, and so the man 
did as they bade him. 

On the fourth day, purified and clean, Umhlakaza went 
to the river again. The strange people were there as before, 
and, to his astonishment, he recognised among them his 
brother who had been many years dead. Then, for the first 
time, he learned who and what they were. The inveterate 
enemies of the white man, they announced themselves as 
having come from battle fields beyond the sea, to aid the 
Xosas with their invincible power in driving the English 
from the land. Between them and the chiefs Umhlakaza 
was to be the medium of communication, the channel 
through whom thenceforth instruction would be given. For 
strange things were to be done, stranger than any that had 
ever been done before, if the proffered assistance was 
welcomed. And first, he must tell the people to abandon 
dealing in witchcraft, to kill fat cattle and eat. Such is 
the tale which the Xosas told each other of the manner in 
which Umhlakaza and Nongqause became acquainted with 
the secrets of the spirit world. 

Kreli heard the message with joy. It may be that he 
really believed the assertions of Umhlakaza, or perhaps, as 
many of the colonists suspected, he was the instigator of the 
whole scheme. At any rate his word went forth that the 
command of the spirits was to be obeyed, that the best 
of all the cattle were to be slaughtered and eaten. 
Messengers from him hastened to the chiefs on the western 
side of the Kei, to inform them of what had taken place, 
and to solicit their cooperation. Instantly all Kafnrland 
was in a state of commotion-. Makorna, Umhala, Pato, 
Stokwe, and many other men of note commenced to kill. 
The high commissioner sent word to the Galeka chief that 
though in his own territory he could do as he pleased, he 
must cease from instigating those who were British subjects 
to destro} 7 their property, or it would become necessary to 
punish him. But he cared little for such a threat, as he 
believed the time was at hand when the tables would be 

200 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 6 

turned and the punished become the punisher. Sandile, 
hesitating and timid, acting too under the eye of the Gaika 
commissioner, declined at first to obey Umhiakaza's bidding, 
as did also Anta and Oba. Kama not only refused to join 
Pato and the others, but did all in his power to counteract 
the mischief they were causing. Many of his heathen 
followers, however, finding that either their loyalty to him 
or to the supreme head of their tribe must be abandoned, 
preferred to renounce the first. Siwani and his people 
escaped the general infection. Umkayi was dead. 

The revelations communicated through Umhlakaza and 
Nongqause grew apace. The girl, standing in the river in 
presence of a multitude of deluded people, heard strange 
unearthly sounds beneath her feet, which her uncle pronounced 
to be the voices of spirits holding high council over the affairs 
of men. The first order was to slay cattle, but the greedy 
ghosts seemed insatiable in their demands. More and more 
were killed, but still never enough. Thus the delusion 
continued month after month, every day spreading wider and 
embracing fresh victims in its grasp. It extended even to 
that section of the Tembu tribe which had always been more 
or less closely allied with the Xosas, and none carried out the 
order to kill more thoroughly than the clans under Vadana 
and the old chief Kwesha. 

In all parts of the country minor impostors arose, who 
pretended to have had visions and to have received com- 
munications from spirits. The most noteworthy of these was 
a girl named Nonkosi, only nine years of age, the daughter 
of a man named Kulwana, a witchfinder of Umhala's clan. 
This girl, who became known as the Umpongo prophetess, 
was exceedingly intelligent and fond of being taken notice 
of. She had some Hottentot blood in her veins, which 
showed itself in her lighter skin and high cheek bones. 
Standing in a marsh near the bank of the Umpongo, a little 
stream which flows through the present village of Maclean, 
she professed to hear spirits conversing, and announced what 
they said. In October 1857, after her parents and all her 

^5 6 ] British Kaffraria. 201 

relatives had died of starvation, she was brought to Colonel 
Maclean, and admitted to him that she had been instigated 
by men in Umhala's confidence to act as she had done. Her 
revelations differed in some respects from those of Umhlakaza 
as to the events that would take place, still the infatuated 
people believed that the one corroborated the other. 

After a time Sandile gave way to the urgent applications 
of his brother Makoma, who asserted that he had himself seen 
and conversed with the spirits of two of his father's dead 
counsellors, and that these commanded Sandile to kill his 
cattle if he would not perish with the white man. Before 
this time the last order of Umhlakaza had been given, that 
order whose fulfilment was to be the final preparation of the 
Kaffirs, after which they would be worthy the aid of a spirit 
host. Not a goat, ox, or cow out of all their herds must be 
left living, every grain of corn in their granaries must be 
destroyed, no garden must be planted, nothing but horses and 
weapons of war must be preserved. But what a future of 
glory and wealth was predicted for the faithful and obedient ! 
On a certain day countless herds of cattle, not subject to 
disease and more beautiful than any they were called upon 
to kill, should issue from the earth and cover the pastures 
far and wide. Great fields of millet, ripe and ready for 
eating, should in an instant spring into existence. The 
ancient heroes of the race, the great and the wise of years 
gone by, restored to life on that happy day, would appear 
and take part in the joys of the faithful. Trouble and 
sickness would be known no more, nor would the frailties of 
old age oppress them, for youth and beauty were to return 
alike to the risen dead and the feeble living-. Such was the 
picture of paradise painted by the Kaffir prophet, and held 
before the eyes of the infatuated people. And dreadful was 
to be the fate of those who opposed the will of the spirits, or 
neglected to obey their commands. The day that was to 
bring so much joy to the loyal would bring nothing but 
destruction for them. A great hurricane would sweep them 
into the sea together with the white people, was his latest 

202 History of South Africa. [ l8 57 

announcement, previously he had declared that the sky would 
fall and crush them. 

Missionaries and agents of the government tried in vain 
to stay the mad proceedings. A delirious frenzy possessed 
the minds of the Kaffirs, they would listen to no argument, 
brook no opposition. White men were scowled upon, and 
warned to take care of themselves, blacks were silenced in 
a summary manner. Yet these fanatics, with their imaginations 
fixed on boundless wealth, were eagerly purchasing trifles 
from English traders, bartering away the hides of two hundred 
thousand slaughtered cattle. It is certain that most of them 
acted under the influence of superstition alone, though there 
is no doubt that some of the leaders viewed the entire pro- 
ceeding as calculated solely for purposes of war. To throw 
the whole Xosa tribe with its Tembu allies, fully armed and 
in a famishing state, upon the colony, was the end kept 
steadily in view by these. The terrible odds against the 
success of such a venture they were too blind to see, or too 
excited to calculate. 

Some there were who neither believed the predictions of 
Umhlakaza nor looked for success in war, and who yet 
destroyed the last particle of their food. Buku, Kreli's 
uncle, was one of these. u It is the chief's command," he 
said, and then, when nothing more was left, the old man 
and his favourite wife sat down in their empty kraal and 
died. Kreli's principal counsellor opposed the scheme till he 
saw that words were useless. Then, observing that all he 
had was his chief's, he gave the order to kill and waste, 
and fled from the place a raving lunatic. Thus it was with 
thousands. The chief commanded, and they obeyed. 

At the beginning of 1857 an unwonted activity reigned 
throughout Kaffirland. Great kraals were being prepared 
for the reception of the cattle so soon to appear like stars 
of the sky in multitude. Enormous skin sacks were being 
made ready to contain the milk shortly to be like water 
in plenty. Huts were being strengthened and carefully 
thatched, that they might withstand the violence of the 

J 857] British Kaffraria. 203 

hurricane which was to sweep the unbelievers and the white 
people into the sea. And even as they worked, some were 
starving. To the eastward of the Kei the prophet's com- 
mand had been obeyed to the letter, but the resurrection 
day was still postponed. It was in mercy to the Gaikas, 
said Umhlakaza, for Sandile and Anta had not finished 
killing yet. Nothing surely was ever more clumsily 
arranged, more blindly carried out than this mad act of the 
Xosas and Tembus. Here was one section of the people 
literally starving, while another section was still engaged 
destroying its resources. Mr. Brownlee had not been able 
to save the Gaikas, but by keeping Sandile from killing so 
long he had done much towards preventing a desperate 
raid into the colony. 

After several postponements, Umhlakaza finally fixed upon 
a time of the moon which corresponded with Wednesday 
the 18th of February 1857 as the day upon which the 
cattle and the mighty dead were to appear, when the 
millet fields were to spring into existence, and all the 
other strange events to happen. He had previously 
declared that two blood-red suns would rise on the 
resurrection day, but now he stated that the ordinary sun 
after rising would wander about for a while in the sky and 
then set again in the east, after which the hurricane would 
follow. This last announcement, however, was not made 
known at the time to the Rarabe clans. 

The government did all that was possible to protect the 
frontier. Every post was strengthened, and every available 
soldier was sent forward. The colonists, too, were prepared 
to meet the shock, come when it would. And then, after 
defence was provided for, stores of food were accumulated 
by the high commissioner at King- Willi amstown and Dohne 
for the purpose of saving life. His was not a heart so cold 
as not to feel pity for those misguided beings who were 
rushing so frantically into certain destruction. 

At length the morning dawned of the 18th of February, 
the day so long and so ardently looked for. The Galekas 

204 History of South Africa. [1857 

and some of the others had shut themselves in their huts in 
order not to be blown away„ but most of the Rarabes and 
the allied Tembus had watched all night long, with feelings 
stretched to the utmost tension of excitement, expecting to 
see the two blood-red suns rise over the eastern horizon, 
when the sky would fall and crush those they hated. 
Famished with hunger, half dying as they were, that night 
was yet a time of fierce, delirious joy. The morning that a 
few hours would usher in was to see all their sorrows ended, 
all their misery past. And so they waited and watched. 
The sun rose as usual, and the hearts of the watchers sank 
within them. " What," said they, " will become of us if 
Umhlakaza's predictions turn out untrue ? " It was the first 
time they had asked such a question, the dawn of doubt 
had never entered their thoughts till the dawn of the fatal 
day. But perhaps after all it might be noon tbat was 
meant, and when the shadows began to lengthen towards 
the east, perhaps, thought they, the setting of the sun is 
the time. The sun went down, and the Xosas and Tembus 
woke to the realities of their dreadful position. 

A blunder, such as a child would hardly have made, had 
been committed by the managers of this horrible tragedy. 
Under pretence of witnessing the resurrection, they should 
have assembled the whole of the fighting men at some point 
from which they could have burst upon the colony. This 
had not been done, and now it was too late to collect them 
together. An attempt was made to rectify the blunder, and 
the day of resurrection was again postponed, but fierce 
excitement had given place to deepest despair. The only 
chance of life that remained to many was to reach the 
colony, but it was as suppliants not as warriors that 
starving men must go. 

The horrors that succeeded can only be partly told. 
There are men living still who were then wild naked 
fugitives, and who cannot recount the events of those days. 
The whole scene comes home to them as a hideous night- 
mare, or as the remembrances of one in a state of delirium. 

1857] British Kaffraria. 205 

In many instances all the ties were broken that bind human 
beings to each other in every condition of society. Brother 
fought with brother, father with son, for scraps and shreds 
of those great milk sacks so carefully made in the days 
when hope was high. The aged, the sick, the feeble, were 
abandoned by the young and vigorous. All kinds of wild 
plants, and even the roots of trees, were collected for food. 
Many of those who were near the seacoast endeavoured to 
support life upon the shellfish found there. Being un- 
accustomed to such diet, they were attacked by dysentery, 
which completed the work of famine. In other instances 
whole families sat down and died together. From fifteen 
to twenty skeletons were afterwards often found under a 
single tree, showing how parents and children met their 
fate when the last ray of hope had gone. A continuous 
stream of emaciated beings poured into the colony, young- 
men and women mostly, but sometimes fathers and mothers 
bearing on their backs half -dying children. Before the farm 
houses they would sit down, and ask in the most piteous 
tones for food, nor did they ask in vain. 

Worse instances even than these remain to be told. 
Charred human bones, fragments of skeletons afterwards 
found in many a pot, revealed the state to which the most 
desperate had fallen. One instance has been authenticated 
of a man and a woman eating the flesh of their own child. 
But there is no need of prolonging unduly the tale of 
misery. Let a few figures tell all that is yet necessary to 
complete the record. Between the first and last days of 
1857 Sandile's clan decreased in number by death and 
flight from thirty-one thousand to three thousand seven 
hundred souls ; the clans under Makoma, Pato, and Stokwe 
were reduced to under a thousand people in all ; Umhala had 
six thousand five hundred remaining out of nearly twenty- 
three thousand ; even Kama lost three thousand six hundred 
out of thirteen thousand souls. 

The official census returns of British Kaffraria show a 
decrease in the Bantu population between the 1st of January 

206 History of South Africa. [1857 

and the 31st of July of that fatal year from one hundred 
and four thousand seven hundred and twenty-one to thirty- 
seven thousand two hundred and twenty-nine of both sexes 
and all ages. And this was in the territory adjoining the 
colony, with King-Williamstown in its centre, where food was 
supplied by the magistrate, Captain Richard Taylor, to no 
fewer than twenty-eight thousand eight hundred and ninety- 
two individuals, who were sent into the colony after they 
had gained sufficient strength to travel and allotted to farmers 
who applied for them and engaged to employ them as rough 
servants. Several hundred men were also retained for public 
work in British KafFraria, as before the delusion. What 
then must have been the loss of life in the Galeka and 
Tembu countries, with no such storehouse, and from which 
flight, except to rival and unfriendly tribes, was almost 
impossible. The lowest computation fixes the number of 
those who perished on both sides of the Kei at twenty-five 
thousand, ordinary calculations give double that number. 

Among those that died of hunger was Umhlakaza himself. 
Nongqause managed to preserve her life by going across the 
Bashee, and in March 1858 was handed over to Major Gawler 
by the Bomvana chief Moni. She was sent into the colony, 
where she afterwards lived, but, beyond making a brief 
statement to Colonel Maclean, could never be induced to 
speak a word concerning the deeds in which she played so 
prominent a part. When discussing these matters in after 
years, most of the Kaffirs admitted that they were infatuated ; 
they said they were never thoroughly conquered by the 
English, for they only made peace in 1835, 1847, and 1853 
to gain breathing time, but that by destroying their substance 
they ruined themselves. 

Some of the boldest formed themselves into robber bands, 
and fell upon their countrymen who had not killed their 
cattle and destroyed their corn. They accused these of 
being the cause of the disaster, as by not carrying out 
Umhlakaza's orders they had prevented the spirits from 
coming to the aid of all, a belief which a good many 

l8 57] British Kaffraria. 207 

Kaffirs held as long as they lived. For several months 
therefore the border was kept in a disturbed state, until 
the government was able to destroy or disperse the robber 

The expense of providing food for so many famishing 
people and of forwarding to distant localities those who 
were arrested when trying to steal — in 1857 alone one 
thousand four hundred and thirteen were sent by sea to 
Capetown — could not be estimated beforehand, and conse- 
quently no application for the necessary funds had been 
made to the secretary of state. Then in 1858 the imperial 
grant for British Kaffraria was cut down without previous 
notice from £40,000 to £20,000, and there were no resources 
in the province from which the deficiency could be made 
good. Sir George Grey was compelled to draw bills upon 
England, which naturally the treasure 7 , not being prepared 
for such expenditure, found it inconvenient to meet, and 
the result was that his conduct in this respect was one of 
the causes of his being recalled by Sir E. B. Lytton. 



From the blow inflicted upon itself, the Xosa tribe required 
many years to recover. For a long time the greater number 
of its young men and women remained in service among 
the farmers in the colony, where they lost that antipathy 
to Europeans which was so strongly felt before. They 
gained also a knowledge of some of the ways of civilised 
life, and acquired to a considerable extent those habits of 
industry without which no people in the world have ever 
made any real progress. It cannot be regarded by unpre- 
judiced persons as a disparagement of missionary labour to 
add that this experience was of at least as much service to 
the Xosas in the condition in which they then were as the 
education from books imparted in the station schools. Such 
training in industry and instruction i» the doctrines of 
Christianity supplemented each other, and both were needed 
to elevate the Kaffirs. 

The power of the Xosa chiefs and of their Tembu allies 
was completely broken by their own mad action. Nearly 
all of them have passed away since the date of the occurrences 
that have been related, and even their names bid fair to be 
soon forgotten. But to show the effects of the dispersion 
in 1857, a brief account of their subsequent careers is 

Kreli, the head of the Xosa tribe, had acted the leading 

part in the tragedy, and his people had suffered more than 

any others. When the delusion was over, he found himself 

with very few followers, so many had perished, so many 


1858] British Kaffraria. 209 

more had fled away. The high commissioner had intimated 
to him that if he persisted in instigating the Rarabe clans 
to their destruction he would be punished, but he had 
declined to take warning. And even in the time of his 
greatest distress he did not cease inciting others to mischief, 
so Sir George Grey resolved to put it out of his power to 
do more harm. A strong detachment of the frontier armed 
and mounted police, under Commandant Currie, was sent 
over the Kei to expel him from the territory that had been 
the principal abode of his tribe for several generations. He 
was unable to resist, and during the night of the 25th of 
February 1858 with all his remaining people he crossed the 
Bashee into Bomvanaland, where the chief Moni gave him 
a small tract of land to live upon. The police kept possession 
of the district between the Kei and the Bashee until 1865, 
when he was permitted to return and occupy a portion of it 
along the coast. In 1877-8 he was again at war with the 
colony, and was driven once more into Bomvanaland, where 
on the 2nd of February 1893 he died. Barbarian as he was, 
Kreli possessed many good qualities. He was brave in the 
field, of a generous disposition, and was not devoid even of 
chivalrous feelings. Tall, erect, splendidly formed, there was 
no handsomer man in appearance in all Kaffirland than he. 
The author of these volumes is indebted to him for much 
information upon the past history of his tribe, for he was 
deeply versed in traditionary lore, and was ever ready to 
impart his knowledge to others who took an interest in such 
matters. His son Sigcawu succeeded him in the chieftainship, 
but the dignity of the position was gone for ever. 

Sandile, the principal chief of the Gaikas, who ranked 
next to Kreli in the tribe, had not slaughtered the whole 
of his cattle when the dispersion took place, though he was 
greatly impoverished and had lost most of his people. He 
was allowed to retain part of the location assigned to him 
by Sir George Cathcart, but his power was much diminished, 
as his magistrate from being a mere assessor was now made 
supreme in judicial matters. He continued to draw a 
vol. in. o 

210 History of South Africa. [1858 

monthly allowance from government as before. Not only 
was his intellect feeble, but he was physically weak, and 
one of his legs was withered. Though he had ten wives, 
he had only seven sons and the same number of daughters. 
No fewer than four of his wives in the right-hand house, 
Nofasi, Nojaji, Noselem, and Benzela, were childless, a very 
unusual circumstance in Kaffir families. His great wife, 
Nopasi, had two daughters, but no son. To provide an heir 
she therefore adopted Gonya, the eldest son of Nokwazi, 
the wife next in rank in the great house. But the clan 
would not acknowledge Gonya as qualified to succeed to his 
father's dignity, because he was never circumcised, having 
been educated at the Zonnebloem institution in the Christian 
faith. He was baptized by the name of Edmund, and was 
long engaged as interpreter and clerk in a magistrate's 
office. Nokwazi had another son, named Umlindazwe by 
the Kaffirs, Bisset Sandile by Europeans. The third wife 
in the great house, Nojeyini, had three sons, Sigidi, Yapi, 
and George, and one daughter. The fifth wife, in the right- 
hand house, had one son, William, and one daughter. The 
seventh wife, Nojenti, had one son, Umyango, and the 
eighth wife, Yoyi, — both of these in the right-hand house, 
— had three daughters. Sandile, whose clan grew rapidly 
under British rule, joined Kreli in the war of 1877-8, and 
was killed in an engagement with the colonial forces. His 
location was then confiscated, and was divided into farms 
and sold to Europeans, after his people were removed 
beyond the Kei. His principal counsellor, a grand old man 
named Tyala, who had done his utmost without avail to 
prevent the cattle killing and the almost equally insane 
war twenty years later, died of grief at the death of his 
chief and the final breaking up of the clan. 

Makoma, the most intelligent of all the Rarabe chiefs, brave 
in the field and exceedingly capable as a guerilla leader, 
though addicted to drunkenness, wandered into the colony, 
and was arrested on the 27th of August 1857 for being 
there without a pass. For this he was sentenced to 

1858] British Kaffraria. 2x1 

imprisonment for a year, but he was afterwards convicted of 
having been accessory to the murder of a petty chief who 
refused to destrov his cattle at the bidding of Umhlakaza, 
and was sentenced to transportation for twenty-one years. 
He was removed to Robben Island, and was there treated 
more as a prisoner of state than as a convict, being allowed 
the company of his favourite wife and as many other 
indulgences as could be granted under the circumstances, 
In May 1869, under a promise of good behaviour, he was 
permitted to return to the country of his birth; but as he 
began to foment disturbances, in November 1871 he was 
once more removed to Eobben Island, where he died at an 
advanced age on the 9th of September 1873. Throughout 
his life he was always an attentive listener to the exhorta- 
tions of missionaries, but never embraced Christianity. His 
son Tini some years later purchased a farm in the 
Waterkloof, which he had assisted to hold so tenaciously in 
1851 and 1852, and gathered the remnant of the clan 
together there. With increasing strength he became increas- 
ingly hostile to the government, and in the war of 1877-8 
threw in his lot with Kreli and Sandile. With his capture 
and banishment to Capetown as a convict, the history of 
the clan came to an end. Its members were dispersed, and 
as a corporate body it ceased to exist. 

Anta sank into almost utter insignificance. He was 
allowed to remain in the Gaika location, and by 1877 his 
clan gathered some little strength again. Then it joined 
Sandile, with the result that it lost its ground and was 
removed beyond the Kei. 

Oba suffered less than any other Gaika chief from 
Umhlakaza's delusion. He had exhibited such courage in the 
preceding war that his people had given him a new name, 
Ngonyama — the lion, — by which he was afterwards generally 
known. Good natured, witty, and generous, if he had only 
abstained from strong drink he would have been an ideal 
Xosa chief. The author of these volumes had charge of him 
and his clan during the last war, and found him sensible, 

212 History of South Africa. [ J 858 

strong in attachment, and faithful to his promises. He 
remained in the Gaika location until 1874, when he pur- 
chased two large farms on the western bank of the Keiskama, 
and moved to them with a considerable following:. Then 
came long drought and cattle sickness, and the clan became 
so poor that the last instalments of the purchase 
price of the ground could not be met. When the war 
of 1&77-S was over, the mortgagees pressed their claims 
and got possession of the farms, but the government recog- 
nised his good conduct in placing himself and his people 
entirely at the disposal of the writer of this narrative, and 
gave him the use of another tract of land in Victoria East, 
where he afterwards lived with his principal men. The 
remainder of his clan were provided for in the district of 
Kentani. Until his death he drew the allowance of £7 a 
month which Sir George Grey gave him, but unfortunately 
it was spent in purchasing brandy. Though believing in — or 
rather not disputing the existence of — one great God, Oba 
never showed any disposition to embrace Christianity. 

The Imidange chief Botumane was closely allied with 
Makoma, and the ground assigned to him by Sir George 
Cathcart was within the Gaika location. He acted exactly 
as Makoma did, and consequently lost his people and ground 
and sank out of sight as a man of note. 

The sons of the Ndlambe chief Umkayi took no part in 
the slaughter of the cattle, but many of their people were 
led away. The clan became very insignificant in consequence, 
but it retained its ground. 

The Ndlambe chief Umhala's career after the delusion w r as 
over was one of crime and misery. No one had been more 
active than he in carrying out Umhlakaza's instructions. 
He had even threatened with death members of his own 
family who were not disposed to waste their substance, and 
would have carried his threat into execution if they had not 
fled. He now with a few adherents attempted to live by 
robber}^, moving from one locality to another so frequently 
and stealthily as for some time to elude his pursuers. But 

1858] British Kaffraria. 213 

at length he was captured by a black policeman, was tried, 
and sentenced to imprisonment on Robben Island, where he 
arrived on the 28th of October 1858, and where he was de- 
tained five years. The man who tracked the son of Ndlambe 
to his lair and there arrested him was no other than Umjuza, 
the son of Makana. How difficult it is to comprehend the 
thoughts, or to account for the actions of these untutored 
beings, may be realised from the fact that at this very time 
Umjuza was carefully preserving the personal property of 
his father, in the firm belief that he would soon appear to 
lead his race to victory. And yet he hunted down and 
arrested the man whom it might be supposed, under such 
circumstances, he would be most anxious to serve. But 
Umkayi had been his chief, and therein lay the secret In 
1864 Umhala returned to Kaffraria, but his power was gone 
for ever. Thereafter his name was seldom heard, and when 
he died on the 10th of April 1875 it was not as if a man 
of note had passed out of the world. The people seemed 
almost to have forgotten him. The large tract of land that 
had been assigned to him by Sir George Cathcart was con- 
fiscated by Sir George Grey. Some of the people left upon 
it were removed beyond the Kei, and in August 1858 were 
located by Major Gawler on the right bank of the Bashee, 
in what is now the district of Idutywa. They were one 
thousand seven hundred and fifty in number, young and old, 
and were distributed among eight kraals, under the captains 
Smith, Sigidi, Stokwe, and Zabela. They and the Fingos at 
Butterworth were the only Bantu allowed to reside in the 
territory between the Kei and the Bashee before 1865. 

The chief Toyise, son of Gasela, lost a few of his people, 
but kept his location intact. This was the case also with 
the petty chief Tshatshu, of the Amantinde clan. 

The Amambala chief Stokwe lost practically the whole of 
his followers by death and dispersion, and ceased to be of 
any note whatever. 

The Gunukwebe chief Pato also was utterly ruined. 
Those of his people who did not perish either joined his 

214 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 8 

half-brother Kama or dispersed in the colony. For an 
offence which he committed he was banished to Robben 
Island for a time, where he arrived on the 13th of March 
1858, and after his return found himself forgotten. His 
allowance from government supported him till he passed 
away almost unnoticed. 

The Imidushane chief Siyolo upon his surrender to 
Colonel Maclean in October 1852 was tried by court 
martial for his conduct during the war, and was sentenced 
to death. Sir George Cathcart commuted this sentence to 
banishment to the Cape peninsula for life, and he was sent 
to Wynberg, where he remained several years a state 
prisoner. Most of his followers perished in the famine, and 
those who survived placed themselves under his half-brother 
Siwani. In May 1869 Siyolo was allowed to return to 
Kaffraria, where he found himself without importance. 

The Imidushane chief Siwani set his face steadily against 
the cattle killing mania, and with such success that he not 
only saved his people, but was able to increase their 
number by the incorporation of nearly a thousand fugitives. 
His people are still living on the location assigned to him 
by Sir George Cathcart. 

The Christian Gunukwebe chief Kama, who did all that 
he could to oppose the cattle killing, saw his clan grow 
from the smallest to the largest in British Kaffraria, with 
his people prospering about him on their location, till in 
1875 he died. His son William Shaw Kama, who had 
been educated for but had not entered the Christian 
ministry, owing to the representations of his friends that 
he could be of greater service as a layman, then became 
chief. The clan is still largely heathen, and from the very 
fact of their having resisted their chief's wishes so long, 
many families among them are now more hardened against 
the doctrines of Christianity than almost any others in the 

Of the Tembu tribe the most important chiefs who 
destroyed their property at the word of Umhlakaza were 

t*5*] British Kaffraria. 215 

Vadana and Kwesha. When the famine set in, Vadana, 
who had still nine hundred mounted men at his back, 
became a robber, and fell upon anyone and everyone who 
had cattle and corn. As he menaced the colonial frontier, 
in August 1857 a party of Queenstown farmers joined a 
strong body of the frontier armed and mounted police under 
Commandant Currie, and succeeded in tracing and coming 
up with his band. An action followed, in which about 
fifty of the robbers were killed, and the old chief Kwesha 
and some others were made prisoners. Vadana fled east- 
ward, but was closely followed by a party of police under 
Inspector Charles Duncan Griffith, who surprised him at 
dawn in the morning of the 19th of September on the 
bank of the Bashee, and made him a prisoner. He and 
Kwesha were then sent to Capetown, where they arrived 
on the 17th of December 1857, with the Gaika chief 
Makoma as their companion in exile. With the breaking 
up of this formidable band all danger of armed opposition 
was over, and though there was a considerable amount of 
thieving by individuals thereafter, the police were able 
without difficulty to maintain such order as had never been 
known before. 

The Fingos, from whom trouble had been anticipated, 
took no part whatever in the destruction of cattle and corn, 
nor have they at any time since acted in opposition to the 
English government. As a consequence, they have prospered 
greatly, and have had very large areas of land allotted to 
them, which they now hold. 

The mad act of the Xosas and Tembus in 1856 and 1857 
gave the country rest from war for over twenty years. It 
affected the politics of the country greatly, for thereafter the 
chief argument of those who desired the separation of the 
two provinces or the removal of the seat of government to 
the east ceased to have force. It enabled Sir George Grey 
to give complete protection to the long harassed farmers of 
Albany by filling with Europeans the vacant land that Sir 
George Cathcart had assigned to Makoma, Botumane, Umhala, 

216 History of South Africa. [1857 

and Pato, whose locations were now confiscated, while these 
Europeans themselves were protected by the police who held 
the unoccupied territory from the Kei to the Bashee. And 
lastly it was the means of bringing large numbers of Kaffirs 
into contact with civilisation on colonial farms, where they 
were trained in the best possible manner to become useful to 
themselves and to the country generally. 

To increase the European population of British Kaffraria 
was in the high commissioner's opinion a matter of the first 
importance. While the white people were few in number 
they were not safe, even if a large military force was 
maintained in the country ; but if they could be sufficiently 
strengthened they would live in security, and much expense 
be saved to the imperial treasury. The experiment of bringing 
out part of the German legion had greatly disappointed the 
Cape colonists, who had contributed largely towards the cost 
of its introduction. The parliament had voted money for 
that purpose on the express understanding that the greater 
number of the men would be married and would be accom- 
panied by their wives, whereas the proportion of women 
that came out was so small that the soldiers could not be 
expected to become permanent settlers, and in all probability 
as soon as they were released from military discipline would 
become vagrants and be * menace to the scattered rural 
population. Partly to prevent their immediate dispersion, 
and partly to strengthen the posts in the province at the 
time of danger of disturbances by the Kaffirs, the high 
commissioner kept the men enrolled and on full pay, which 
made them subject to the laws of war. In this condition, 
though they were allowed to build cottages and till the 
ground in their villages, they remained until the 31st of 
March 1858, when by peremptory instructions from England 
the pay was stopped. 

To procure female immigrants two plans were devised. 
On the 14th of March 1857 a sale of thirty-five building 
allotments in King-Williamstown took place, when the sum 
of £1,831 was realised. This money was paid into the 

i857l British Kaffvaria. 217 

commissariat chest, and the high commissioner wrote to the 
secretary of state requesting that it might be applied to 
the introduction of young women. He stated that another 
sale would shortly take place, which he anticipated would 
bring the amount to over £3,000, sufficient to defray the 
cost of sending out one transport. The secretary of state 
complied with his request, and consented to the proceeds of 
future land sales being devoted to the same purpose. 

The emigration commissioners thereupon chartered a 
ship of 584 tons burden named the Lady Kennaway, that 
sailed from Plymouth on the 6th of September 1857 with one 
hundred and fifty-three respectable young Irish women, 
accompanied by twenty- one Englishmen with their wives and 
thirty-three children, and four young men. The passengers 
landed at East London on the 23rd of November, and the 
young women, except seventy who preferred to go to Grahams- 
town, very shortly found husbands, some of English birth, 
others men of the legion. Two days after their landing, the 
Lady Kennaway parted her cables in a gale, was driven on 
shore, and became a wreck. 

The other plan favoured by the high commissioner was 
to get out a large number of German agricultural families, 
from whom the men of the legion might obtain wives. There 
was some correspondence on this subject between different 
ministerial departments in London and Sir George Grey, in 
which the secretary of state for war expressed a favourable 
opinion of the scheme, but Mr. Labouchere was opposed to 
it. On the 5th of June 1857 he wrote declining to accede 
to the proposal, on the ground of the large expense and 
the difficulty of carrying it out. 

The high commissioner, however, on the 24th of August 
1857 entered into an agreement with Mr. William Berg, of 
Capetown, as agent for the firm of Johan Cee3ar Godeffroy 
& Son, of Hamburg, for the introduction of four thousand 
German settlers. For this purpose the Kafirarian govern- 
ment was to issue debentures to the amount 01 £50,000, to 
bear interest at the rate of six per cent per annum for 

2i8 History of South Africa, [ l8 5 8 

ten years, when they were to be redeemed. Messrs. Godeffroy 
& Son were to select suitable families and send them to 
East London at a charge of £12 10s. for a statute adult. 
From East London the government was to convey them 
to the ground on which they were to settle free of charge. 
The emigrants were to be agriculturists of respectable 
character, in good health, and free from mental or bodily 
defects. Each head of a family was to receive a building 
allotment in a village, free of charge, twenty acres of good 
ground at £1 per acre, five acres for each child above four- 
teen years of age, and three acres for each child between 
ten and fourteen, at the same price. He was to repay 
one-fifth of the passage money of himself and his family 
after four years, one- fifth after five years, one-fifth after 
six years, one-fifth after seven years, and the remaining 
fifth after eight years from the date of his arrival at East 
London, with the exception that only half was to be repaid 
for unmarried females between the ages of twelve and 
twenty-five years. The ground was to be paid for in the 
same way. No interest was to be charged on these debts, 
and the cost of surveying the allotments and issuing the 
title deeds, which would be given when the last instalment 
was paid, was to be borne by the government. 

Under these conditions Messrs. Godeffroy & Son sent from 
Hamburg five ships with emigrants in 1858. They were 
directed to call at Table Bay on the passage for orders, 
where the first, the Ccesar Godeffroy, arrived on the 14th 
of June, with four hundred and fifty-six immigrants on 
board ; the second, La Rochelle, on the 11th of August, 
with four hundred and eighty-five ; the third, the Wandrahan, 
on the 17th of November, with four hundred and twenty- 
one ; the fourth, the Wilhelmsburg, on the 23rd of December, 
with six hundred and eighty ; and the fifth, the Johan 
Ccesar, on the 7th of January 1859, with two hundred and 
sevent}f-three immigrants of both sexes and all ages under 
fifty. Only those who arrived in the first two ships were 
located before the close of 1858, and of the others some 

r 8s8] British Kaffraria. 219 

had ground allotted to them on the western side of the 
Keiskarna, so that all did not become inhabitants of British 

Meantime intelligence was received from the governor of 
Bombay that more troops were urgently needed there, so 
the high commissioner, acting under general instructions he 
had received to give all the assistance that was possible to 
India, called a thousand of the unmarried and most restless 
men of the legion back to their colours, and in September 
1858 sent them to Lord Elphinstone's aid. It had become 
evident that these men would never make good settlers. 
They were already beginning to disperse, and were therefore 
of little service as a protective guard to Kaffraria. A weed- 
ing out, similar to that which took place in the early days 
of the Cape Colony, was thus put in operation with them. 
The steady and industrious among them — and there were 
many such, though they excelled rather as mechanics and in 
commercial pursuits than in agriculture — remained in South 
Africa, where they were of much service, while the idle and 
the dissipated returned to the occupation in which they 
could be useful without being dangerous to society. It was 
an enormous responsibility, however, that Sir George Grey 
thus took upon himself, in levying troops for service out of 
South Africa, without direct authority from the imperial 
government and without provision having been made by the 
war office for their maintenance. 

The census taken by the officials on the 31st of December 
1858 showed the population of British Kaffraria to consist of 
one thousand one hundred and fifty-four men, women, and 
children connected with the German legion, two thousand 
nine hundred and ninety-four other Europeans, and thirty- 
eight thousand five hundred and fifty-nine Kaffirs and 

The imports into the province through East London, 
which was then a dependency of the Cape Colony, 
amounted in 1855 to £79,930, in 1856 to £174,765, in 1857 
to £258,014, and in 1858 to £144,925. A very small 

220 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 8 

proportion of the imports came direct from England, the great 
bulk of the trade being coastwise. The exports through 
East London from the province amounted in 1855 to 
£30,985, in 1856 to £52,214, in 1857 to £79,558, and in 
1858 to £18,900. The cause of the great falling off in the 
last year was the cessation of the supply of hides after the 
destruction of their cattle by the Kaffirs. 

No settlers in any new country could have been better 
adapted to meet its needs than those sent from Northern 
Germany by Messrs. Godeffroy & Son. Frugal, temperate, 
orderly, and industrious in the very highest degree, they 
set themselves to work with the utmost diligence on their 
little holdings. After a few months they consumed nothing 
that they did not produce. Chicory from their land served 
them for coffee, honey from their hives took the place of 
sugar, pork and maize and vegetables were the principal 
articles of their diet. The ground had to be turned over 
with the spade, for they were too poor to purchase cattle 
and ploughs. The women carried heavy loads of vegetables 
to the nearest military post or to King- Williamstown or 
East London, and though the returns were small, they were 
saved. Then came a time when a horse could be bought, 
and a little homemade waggon, with wheels sawn from the 
trunk of a tree, was seen on the road. Presently a cow 
was visible on the German's homestead, and it was always 
sleek and well fed. So it went on with him, every year 
finding him with a little more stock than the one before. 
Surely no people in the world more than these men and 
women deserved to become prosperous and happy. The 
neat stone houses in which their children live to-day, the 
highly cultivated fields around them, the herds of cattle 
that graze on the pastures, bear witness to their thriving 
condition and to the fact that Kaffraria is a land in which 
industry and perseverance meet with a suitable reward. 

This system of immigration was not continued after 1858. 
On the 4th of May of that year Lord Stanley, who on the 
26th of February had succeeded Mr. Labouchere as secretary 

1858] British Kaffraria. 121 

of state for the colonies, announced to Sir George Grey that 
it was to cease. He wrote : — 

" The course of following up the introduction of the 
German legion, by sending to the same district a large 
additional number of German emigrants, unfamiliar with 
English habits or English speech, appears to me one of, at 
least, questionable policy. Nor does it seem clearly suited 
to fulfil its intended purpose ; for the scarcity of wives 
for the German legion is hardly to be cured by sending 
out a number of married couples from Germany, accom- 
panied by children so young as most of them must be if 
the majority of the parents be of an age to contend with 
the difficulties of a new settlement. And inasmuch as there 
is, in the finances of British Kaffraria, an annual deficiency 
of £40,000, which has only been supplied hitherto by a 
yearly grant from parliament, the bonds to be nominally 
secured on the revenue of that territory must, in fact, 
depend, for principal and interest, on the continuance of 
parliamentary aid from Great Britain. Here it is necessary 
also to remark that the sum of £50,000, to be paid for 
passages, would be far from completing the expenditure. 
Transport is promised to the emigrants, for themselves, 
their families, and their baggage, from the place of landing 
to the place of settlement ; and also numerous small lots 
of land, both rural and in villages, which must entail 
expensive surveying. Nor is it likely that, in practice, 
the assistance to be granted to inexperienced persons brought 
out into an entirely new country could be limited to the 
objects for which it was thus expressly promised beforehand. 

"Looking at all these considerations, and especially seeing 
that the pecuniary consequences of the measure directly 
concern this country, Her Majesty's government have felt 
bound to adhere to the policy which had already been 
communicated to you by my predecessor. I have apprised 
the Messrs. Godeffroy, of Hamburg, of the nature of the 
resources of British KafTraria, and have instructed them 
that the emigration must be discontinued. I am anxious to 

222 History of South Africa. [1659 

effect this in the manner most considerate towards the Messrs. 
Godeffroy, and best calculated to avoid hardship to individuals ; 
but the measure itself is indispensable. Of the details of 
the steps taken for that purpose, you shall be informed when 
they are further advanced ; but if some inconvenience should 
unavoidably occur, I must observe that it will have been 
owing to the unfortunate course taken by yourself, of order- 
ing an extensive series of operations to be commenced in 
Europe without the knowledge or the authority, and against 
the previously expressed decision of the queen's government." 

Emigrants equal in number to sixteen hundred statute 
adults — the two thousand three hundred and fifteen individuals 
who actually reached South Africa — had previously been 
engaged, and one of the transports was then on the way 
out. Lord Stanley therefore consented to allow these to be 
forwarded, and paid Messrs. Godeffroy & Son, who had incurred 
considerable expense in establishing agencies and in other 
ways, £5,000 to cancel the contract for the remaining two 
thousand four hundred. 

In 1858 the high commissioner caused three hundred and 
two farms of an average size of fifteen hundred acres each 
to be laid out in the confiscated locations in the province, 
and offered them to selected heads of families in other parts 
of South Africa, to be held under military tenure and the 
yearly payment of a quitrent of £2 for every thousand acres. 
These farms were only one fourth the size of those in the 
long settled districts of the Cape Colony, bu^ as they were 
generally well watered and clothed with rich grass, they were 
equally valuable. Studded with mimosa trees, the country 
in which they were situated presented the appearance of a 
beautiful park, except when occasional droughts occurred, or 
grass fires turned the hill sides from brown to black. Early 
in 1859 the grantees — young Dutch and English farmers 
acquainted with the conditions of South African life — moved 
in and occupied the land. 

At the opening of the session of the Cape parliament in 
1859 Sir George Grey referred to British Kaffraria, with a 

I ^59J British Kaffraria. 223 

view of relieving Great Britain of the burden of contributing 
towards the maintenance of its government. He said : 

" Whatever decision you may come to upon the subject 
of federation generally, I request that you will take an 
early opportunity of letting me know your desire with 
regard to the incorporation of the territory of British 
Kaffraria with the colony of the Cape of Good Hope. It 
is impossible that the state of things now existing in 
British Kaffraria can be permitted much longer to continue. 
That territory is constantly increasing in wealth and 
importance, and the number of its European population 
augments with these ; yet it is left without courts suited 
to its wants, and without any form of government which 
possesses even the show of freedom, whilst the greater part 
of the customs duties on its imports are received by the 
colony of the Cape of Good Hope. Should British 
Kaffraria not be incorporated with the Cape of Good 
Hope, the port of East London will, under the letters patent 
constituting British Kaffraria a separate territory, fall within 
that dependency of the crown. From this circumstance, 
serious inconvenience might result to this colony, as, if 
East London were constituted a free port, or if a low rate 
of customs duties were received there, the revenues of the 
colony of the Cape of Good Hope would suffer greatly, as 
it appears impossible to establish customhouse points along 
a boundary line which cannot be computed for that purpose 
at less than one hundred and ninety miles in length." 

The parliament was not then desirous of the annexation of 
the territory to the colony, but was willing to give up 
the port of East London and lose the customs duties 
collected there, which were then a mere trifle. Accordingly, 
on the 9th of July 1859 the governor issued a proclamation 
restoring East London to British Kaffraria. This was con- 
firmed by an order in council on the 29th of November, 
followed by letters patent on the 19th of December, which 
were promulgated by proclamation on the 7th of April 1860. 
Thus the anomaly of a harbour in the centre of the coast- 

224 History of South Africa. [1859 

line of one British dependency being regarded as belonging 
to another dependency was removed. 

The customs duties were fixed by the high commissioner 
in another proclamation of the 9th of July 1859. Goods 
coming from abroad were to pay the same duties as in the 
Cape Colony. The produce of the Cape Colony of every 
description was to be admitted duty free. Goods from 
abroad could be landed in the ports of the Cape Colony, 
placed in bonding warehouses there, and then shipped coast- 
wise to East London, where the duty was to be paid ; but 
if the original packages were broken the duty was to be 
paid in both places. This acted prejudicially to the port, 
as nearly all the trading establishments in the territory were 
dependent upon firms in Port Elizabeth, and much of the 
merchandise needed was in small quantities. Such goods 
were usually sent overland from Port Elizabeth, to save pay- 
ment of the double duty, there being no inland customhouse. 

In this year many of the Xosas who had dispersed in 

1857 returned to Kaffraria and took up their abode in 

the locations that remained. A census taken on the 31st 

of December 1859 showed the population to consist of 

Men Women Children Total 
Europeans on 302 farms . . 1,289 

German immigrants 306 317 871 . . 1,494 

German legion 677 271 217 .. 1,165 

Other Europeans 714 448 785 . . 1,947 

Total white population . . 5,895 

Kaffirs and Fingos . . . . 12,626 13,399 27,038 . . 53,063 

There were then thirteen mission stations in the pro- 
vince. Two of these, Burnshill and Perie, were maintained 
by the free church of Scotland, three, the reverend Mr. 
Brownlee's in King-Williamstown, Knappshope, and Peelton, by 
the London missionary society ; two, Annshaw and Mount 
Coke, by the Wesleyan society ; three, — Bethel, at Stutterheim, 
founded with Gasela's people by the reverend Mr. Dohne in 
February 1837, Wartburg, in Sandile's location, founded by 
the reverend Mr. Kein in 1855, and Petersberg, a few miles 

i860] British Kaffraria. 225 

west of King- Williamst own, founded with Toyise's people by 
the reverend Mr. Lief el dt in 1856,— -by the Berlin missionary 
society ; two, — St. Matthew's, at Keiskarna Hoek, founded 
in 1855, and Newlands, in Umhala's old country, founded a 
little later, — by the episcopal church of England ; and one 
— Mgwali, founded in 1857, — by the united presbyterian 
church. Nearly all of them had branch stations or outposts, 
at which services were held periodically, and at most of 
these there were schools with coloured teachers. The 
missionaries had now far greater facilities for carrying on 
their work than in former times, because they were not 
subject to the caprices of the chiefs, and the law of the 
land was with them. Christianity and civilisation therefore 
from this time forward made more rapid advances among the 
black people than was possible before. 

The Bantu population of the territory between the Kei 
and the Bashee consisted on the 31st of December 1859 of 
nine hundred and nine men, one thousand two hundred and 
six women, and three thousand one hundred and thirty-nine 

On the 7th of March 1860 letters patent were issued at 
Westminster denning the boundaries of the province and 
settling the form of its government. In them British 
Kaffraria was declared to comprise the territory within the 
western bank of the Keiskarna from the sea upward to the 
junction of the Tyumie, the western bank of the Tyumie 
upward to its northernmost source, the Katberg, Amatola, 
and Kabusi range to the great northern road leading from 
East London to Queenstown, that road to the ridge which 
descends into the valley of the Dagana river at the 
north-eastern angle of the Windvogelberg, the ridge running 
in a north-easterly direction from that point to the Zwart 
Kei, and the centre of the Kei to its mouth. The remaining 
portion of the province as it had previously been was 
annexed to the Cape Colony. 

The province was to remain a distinct and separate 

government, which was to be administered, however, by the 
vol. in, p 

226 History of South Africa. [i860 

governor and commander-in-chief of the Cape Colony. To 
him alone authority was given to enact such laws as he 
might consider necessary, but in his absence a lieutenant- 
governor or a governor's deputy was to carry on the 

On the 26th of October 18£0 a proclamation was issued 
by Sir George Grey, in which these letters patent were 
promulgated and declared to be in force from that day. At 
the same time Lieutenant-Colonel John Maclean, previously 
chief commissioner, was appointed lieutenant-governor. 

The province was divided into two districts, named King- 
Williamstown and East London. The magistrates, Captain 
Richard Taylor in the former, and Mr. Matthew Jennings 
in the latter, continued to exercise their duties, Mr. Jennings 
being also collector of customs. With each Bantu clan of 
importance there was a European official acting as a 
magistrate, and in civil cases deciding according to Bantu 
law, but the chiefs were endeavouring secretly to recover 
as much authority as was possible. A supreme court was 
not established until February 1862, when Mr. Justice 
Fitzpatrick arrived from England and assumed duty as sole 
judge. Trial by jury was established in criminal cases that 
came before this court. Mr. Simeon Jacobs was appointed 
attorney-general, Captain — afterwards Sir — Charles Mills 
sheriff, and Mr. Richard Giddy master. Further, a registry 
of deeds was created, and a surveyor-general was appointed. 
This was all the machinery of administration in the province 
as long as it remained a separate dependency of the crown, 
but it was ample for the requirements of the inhabitants, 
and it did not press heavily upon their resources. Such 
enactments of the Cape parliament as he considered would 
be beneficial were proclaimed by the governor as law, so 
that uniformity was preserved. 

The postal service was carried on by the military authorities, 
the mails- — open, however, to all — being conveyed from place 
to place by soldiers of the Cape corps. The surf boats in 
which goods were conveyed to and from ships lying in the 

i860] British Kafir aria. 227 

roadstead off East London were owned by the imperial 
government, and were maintained primarily for military 
purposes, though their use was permitted to persons engaged 
in commerce. A lighthouse had been constructed on the 
western point at the mouth of the Buffalo, from which a 
steady white light was first exhibited on the 25th of August 
1860. The great northern road was connected with the village 
of East London by a pontoon capable of conveying heavily 
laden waggons and their teams across. On the eastern bank, 
where now a large and important town stands, there were 
then only half a dozen small buildings, though the place was 
dignified with the name of the village of Panmure. 

The road from Panmure ran at no great distance from the 
Buffalo, passed the German settlement of Cambridge with its 
well cultivated fields, the military post of Fort Jackson some 
distance farther on, Potsdam — another neat and thriving 
German settlement — a little on the left, Berlin, where the 
population was small, and Breidbach, with charming gardens 
in its vicinity, before it reached King-Williamstown, the seat 
of the administration, then a straggling place not yet under 
municipal government. This was the head quarters of the 
troops in the province, and here were the commissariat stores 
and workshops where the waggons used in the mule trains 
were made and repaired. Its finest building was the large 
Grey hospital, and the next most imposing structure was the 
English episcopal church. There were also Roman catholic 
and Wesleyan churches, and the presbyterians and Lutherans 
were building places of worship. On the outskirts of the 
town was the London society's mission station, where the 
venerable Mr. Brownlee still carried on his work. The places 
of business were chiefly offshoots of establishments at Port 
Elizabeth, but already it was beginning to be evident that 
King-Williamstown would become the emporium of the trade 
of the Transkeian territories as far as the Umzimvubu. A 
newspaper — the King-Williamstown Gazette — was published 
here, but as yet there was no public library or other place 
of entertainment than an amateur theatre. 





19th OF APRIL 1850. 






The growth of Natal in importance as a British possession 
was exceedingly slow. In 1845 it was without roads along 
which goods could be conveyed over the mountains to the 
communities inland, so that its trade was limited to the 
people within its own borders and those of Zululand. It 
was not known to possess any mineral wealth, such as would 
entice a large influx of immigrants. For agricultural and 
pastoral pursuits it was recognised as being well adapted, 

* Previously acting governor of Sierra Leone. 

fOn the 12th of October 1852 Mr. Pine left Natal on a visit to the Cape 
Colony, and did not return until the 22nd of March 1 853. During his absence 
Lieutenant-Colonel Boys acted until the 31st of January 1853, when he was 
obliged to retire through illness. Major W. R. Preston, of the 45th regiment, 
was sworn in on the 1st of February, and acted until Mr. Pine's return. 


1845] The District of Natal. 229 

but these could not be carried on with safety while great 
hordes of Bantu were wandering about wherever they chose. 
The first and most important question awaiting solution 
was the settlement of these Bantu. They consisted of three 
classes : 

1. Inhabitants of the territory before the wars of Tshaka, 
who had never been driven out, and who were believed 
to be then between five and eleven thousand in number. 
These were admitted by every one to have a claim, superior 
to that of either the Europeans or the other Bantu, to ample 
ground for their maintenance. 

2. Those who had been driven out by Tshaka, and who 
had returned after the arrival of the Europeans. Concerning 
these there was a difference of opinion. Some persons main- 
tained that they had lost their rights, others held that 
their ownership of the ground occupied by their fathers 
remained valid, and should be respected. 

3. Refugees from tribes that had never occupied any part 
of Natal, who had come into it since 1888 to be under the 
white man's protection. These were believed to compose 
fully half of the whole number then in the territory, and 
all persons were agreed that they had no claim to anything 
beyond what the government might choose to give them. 

Practically, however, these distinctions could not be 
observed, because the government was without power to do 
anything opposed to the inclinations of the blacks. The 
country had become a British possession through force of 
circumstances, not from any desire on the part of the 
imperial authorities to establish her Majesty's authority 
there, and beyond maintaining a "small body of troops as a 
garrison, they would not consent to incur any expense what- 
ever. Earl Grey, who was then secretary of state for the 
colonies, would, indeed, have favoured the withdrawal of the 
British flag altogether, if it were not certain that the 
extermination of the blacks in the territory would have 
followed immediately. Though the administration was as 
simple and inexpensive as possible, the lieutenant-governor 

230 History of South Ajrica. [ l8 4^ 

receiving only £800 a year and £100 for houserent, the 
recorder £600, the secretary to government £500, and the 
other officials in proportion, the local revenue was insufficient 
to meet the expenditure, and the deficiency was made up 
by loans from the Cape treasur} r , to be repaid in after 
years. Thus there was no possibility of employing any 
other police than a hundred of those blacks who had long 
been subject to English chiefs, and the few Europeans in 
the country could not provide a force strong enough to 
compel obedience by the Bantu generally. 

Under these circumstances, in 1846 a land commission, 
consisting of Mr. Theophilus Shepstone, Dr. William Stanger, 
Lieutenant C. J. Gibb, of the royal engineers, the reverend 
Daniel Lindley, minister of the Dutch reformed church at 
Maritzburg, * and Dr. Newton Adams, of the American 
mission, was appointed for the purpose of selecting tracts of 
land on which the Bantu, irrespective of the classification 
above mentioned, should be located. This commission, after 
a rough inspection of the country north of the Umkomanzi 
river, recommended seven locations for the exclusive use of 
the blacks : the Umzinyati, Impafana, Umvoti, Inanda, and 
Zwartkops, with defined boundaries, and the Umlazi and Kath- 
lamba, whose boundaries were left open. These locations 
comprised in all fully two million acres of land, or one-sixth of 
the whole area of Natal, and contained a great many farms 
claimed by white men as having been occupied by them before 
the arrival of Commissioner Cloete in 1848. But it would 
have been impossible to select locations elsewhere without in- 
cluding farms, so the government adopted the recommendations 
of the commission provisionally, and the Bantu were directed 
to take up their residence on the ground set apart for them. 
Most of them complied with the order, but some declined to 
remove from the land they were then occupying outside 
the locations, and there were no means of compelling them 

* Mr. Lindley resigned this post on the 31st of December 1846, and returned 
to mission work. He was succeeded as clergyman at Maritzburg by the 
reverend Mr. Stucki, 

1847] The District of Natal. 231 

to obey. South of the Umkomanzi the} 7 had practically the 
whole of the ground fit for use in their possession. 

In this direction some small clans that had been dispersed 
in the wars of Tshaka and that had taken refuge in the 
broken country along the Umzimvubu were now anxious 
either to remove to Natal or that British authority should 
be extended to the land on which they were living. Among 
them were the Xesibes, then under a chief named Jojo, who 
complained of being subject to constant attacks by the 
Pondo chief Faku. These people had for several generations 
occupied a tract of country south of the Umtamvuna, but 
during the great convulsions had been driven from it and 
had taken possession of territory on which Pondo kraals had 
once stood, This fact and the Maitland treaty were dwelt 
upon by Faku when attempting to compel them to become 
his subjects. On their part the Xesibes claimed to be as 
independent as their ancestors had always been, and main- 
tained that the Pondos had lost their right to the land in 
the same way that they had lost theirs. No clan whatever, 
thiy asserted, was then on the same ground that it had 
occupied before the Zulu wars. This contention between 
ths two peoples was the cause of constant strife and 

In 1847 Jojo sent messengers to Maritzburg to entreat 
that he might be protected by the Natal government. He 
hed only six hundred fighting men left, he stated, and he 
feired that they would be annihilated unless he received 
asiistance. But the government had too much upon its 
haids already to add to the burden, and so the request of 
tht Xesibes could not be entertained. Contrary to all 
ex}ectation, however, they managed to hold out, though 
encaged in constant strife, until 1878, when they were taken 
uncer British protection, and on the 25th of October 1886 
ther territory, under the name of the district of Mount 
AylfF, was annexed to the Cape Colony.* 

* (n the 7th of May 1886 the secretary of state announced the queen's 
conseit to steps being taken for the annexation to the Cape Colony of the 

2 32 History of South Africa. [1847 

Another chief who sent a request similar to that of Jojo 
was Ukane, the head of a clan termed the Amaxolo, who 
resided on a portion of the territory between the Umzimkulu 
and Umtamvuna rivers. Nothing was done to aid him, 
though he repeatedly sought protection, until 1866, when the 
southern boundary of Natal was extended to the Umtamvuna, 
and he became thereby a British subject. But before that 
time he had been compelled to make his peace with Faku and 
submit to Pondo supremacy, and he then declared that he 
would abide by his engagement and must therefore decline 
to recognise the queen's authority. He was informed that 
he must either submit or with his people cross the Umtam- 
vuna into Pondo territory. To this message he returned a 
defiant answer, and he was then sentenced to pay a fine of 
twenty head of cattle for insolence and disobedience. As he 
declined to pay it, an expedition was sent against him, 
when he and some of his principal men concealed them- 
selves, but all his women and children and most of his 
warriors remained on their ground. They were ordered bo 
remove at once, upon which Ukane sent to ask forgiveness, 
and offered to obey the directions of the government;. 
Thereupon he was fined two hundred head of cattle, which 
were delivered at once, after which he was allowed to 
return to his kraal, and subsequently he gave no trouble 
The conduct of this chief, in wishing to adhere to an er- 
gagement into which he had entered, though unwillinglj, 
can only be regarded as praiseworthy, and if he had beei 
less insolent in his expressions he would have been require! 
to pay a much smaller fine. 

district occupied by the Xesibes, as proposed by the high commissioner ; )n 
the 23rd of August the governor was authorised by letters patent to issui a 
proclamation to that effect ; on the 24th of September by an order in 
council her Majesty assented to an annexation act passed by the Cipe 
parliament ; and on the 25th of October the governor proclaimed the cim- 
pletion of the measure. This was merely one of the different acts by wKch 
the various sections of the territory from the Kei to the border of Naal, 
and from the Kathlamba mountains to the sea, were successively annexe* to 
the Cape Colony. 

1849] The District of Natal. 233 

In the locations in Natal the Bantu were of necessity left 
to themselves. Fortunately for the Europeans, a large 
proportion of these peuple were without chiefs, the ruling 
families of the tribes to which they had once belonged 
having been utterly exterminated, so they could not enter 
into hostile combinations. The feuds among those who still 
preserved the organisation of clans were so bitter, and their 
dread of Panda was so strong, that there was no danger of 
their uniting to oppose the European authorities as long as 
nothing was done to give them a common grievance. It 
was hoped that the missionaries, to whom all possible 
encouragement was afforded, would speedily effect an im- 
provement in their habits. At the time there were not 
many in the district, but shortly the field was occupied by 
fourteen Americans, three of the Berlin society, and two 

In this condition the blacks remained until 1849, when 
the European element of the population having become 
stronger, the government more consolidated, and the pre- 
liminary work of opening up the country more advanced, 
it was considered that some authority could with safety be 
exercised over them. In instructions issued by the queen in 
council, dated 8th of March 1848, the lieutenant-governor 
was directed to make known that in assuming the 
sovereignty her Majesty had not interfered with or 
abrogated any law, custom, or usage previously prevailing 
among the native inhabitants, except so far as the same 
might be repugnant to the general principles of humanity 
recognised throughout the whole civilised world, nor had 
interfered with or abrogated the power which the laws, 
customs, and usages of those inhabitants vested in the chiefs 
or in any other persons in authority under them ; but that 
in all transactions between themselves and in all crimes 
committed by any of them against the persons or property 
of others of them the said natives were (subject to the 
conditions already stated) to administer justice towards each 
other as they had been used to do in former times ; provided, 

234 History of South Africa. [1849 

nevertheless, that her Majesty reserved to herself full power 
and authority, as she from time to time should see occasion, 
to amend the laws of the said natives and provide for the 
better administration of justice among them, as might be 
found practicable. This clause might have been extracted 
almost verbatim from the records of the Dutch East India 
Company's administration of the Cape Colony, instead of 
from an order in council issued by the queen of England in 

1848, so entirely did it accord with Dutch ideas as to the 
best method of dealing with barbarians. 

But the officials in Natal without exception considered 
these instructions objectionable, as they desired the intro- 
duction of a system that would bring the blacks under the 
same laws as the Europeans at an early date, and could not 
regard without concern the creation of a number of nearly 
independent states within the district. The members of the 
executive council went so far as to advise the suspension of 
the publication of the order until a statement of their views 
could be received in England, and Lieutenant-Governor West 
actually did withhold making it public until the 21st of June 

1849, when he felt he could no longer delay carrying out a 
positive order. And so Kaffir laws and customs, with the 
authority of the chiefs, were legalised in Natal, and have 
remained with few changes to the present day. 

To modify this policy as much as it was now in their 
power to do, on the 23rd of June 1849 an ordinance was 
passed provisionally by the legislative council, providing that 
there should be an appeal from the decisions of the chiefs 
to the lieutenant-governor and the executive council, and 
that officers might be appointed to control, revise, and direct 
the administration of justice according to Bantu law. This 
ordinance was confirmed by the queen in council, and was 
published on the 4th of November 1850. On the same day 
Messrs. L. E. Mesham, George Ringler Thomson, G. R 
Peppercorn, and James Cleghorn were appointed respectively 
native magistrates of the Inanda, Umzinyati, Impafana, and 
Umvoti locations, to adjudicate in such cases as the people 

1849] The District of Natal, 235 

might choose to bring before them. They were of course 
regarded with jealousy by most of the chiefs, but it was 
hoped that with the large section of the people which was 
without hereditary leaders they would soon acquire 
influence, that they would, in short, become in reality chiefs 
themselves, and govern as such, though living as civilised 
and educated Europeans. These sanguine expectations, how- 
ever, were never fully realised. From this time forward the 
lieutenant-governor in dealings with the blacks was entitled 
the supreme chief, and the diplomatic agent was termed his 

At the close of 1849 an effort was first made to obtain a 
contribution towards the revenue from the blacks. A tax 
of seven shillings a year was levied upon each hut, and to 
the gratification of the government, Mr. Shepstone, who 
visited the locations and outlying kraals for the purpose, 
was able to collect it in money or in cattle without any 
difficulty. It was paid on twenty-five thousand two hundred 
and thirty-two huts, and amounted to £8 ; 831 4s. 

All this time an influx of refugees from beyond the 
Tugela and the Umzinyati was going on. The government 
discouraged it as much as possible, and restored to Panda 
any cattle that the fugitives brought with them and that he 
sent to claim, but the people themselves were allowed to 
remain in Natal. Sometimes they arrived singly, but on 
several occasions entire clans fled into the district to obtain 
protection from their enemies. The most notable of these 
was a section of the Hlubi tribe under the chief 
Langalibalele, which fled from Zululand in 1848 to escape 
annihilation by Panda. 

The Hlubi had once been the largest tribe in South 
Africa, but the greater part of it had perished in the wars 
of Tshaka, and the fragments into which the surviving 
portion was broken up were scattered from the Fish river 
to the Umvolosi, and beyond the Drakensberg from the 
head waters of the Caledon to the commonage of Bloem- 
fbntein. There were sections of it larger than the one which 

236 History of South Africa. [1849 

entered Natal in 1848, but this was politically the most 
important, because Langalibalele, its chief, was the direct 
representative of the highest branch of the ruling family. 
After long consideration it was decided by the government 
to give the Hlubis a tract of land by themselves at the 
sources of the Bushman's river, and on the 1st of 
December 1849 the boundaries of a location were pointed 
out to them by Mr. James Michael Howell, acting for Mr. 
Theophilus Shepstone. This situation was selected for 
them because some Bushmen, whose haunts were in the 
mountains behind, were in the habit of making predatory 
incursions into Natal and robbing the farmers on the 
uplands of cattle, and it was believed that the Hlubis could 
check these depredations much more easily than Europeans. 
This expectation was at first only partly realised, but the 
robberies by the Bushmen were thereafter less frequent 
and on a less extensive scale than before, and in course 
of time the plunderers were almost entirely rooted out. 

To the black man Natal was like an earthly paradise. 
He was protected there from his enemies, his laws and his 
customs were not interfered with, and he was under no 
necessity to labour. His cattle roamed over the choicest 
pastures, where it gave him no anxiety to guard them. 
The women provided an ample supply of food from their 
gardens, and were none the less happy for being required 
to till the ground. When the time to pay the hut tax 
came round, the sale of an ox or a few bags of maize 
sufficed to meet the charge upon several families. Now and 
again a young man might be tempted to take service with 
a European for a few months, in order to procure something 
which he desired, but when his object was attained he 
returned to his ordinary life of indolence. Thus as time 
went on, little or no change in his condition took place 
in the way of assimilation to the European mode of 

The white people in Natal looked upon the great mass of 
barbarism strongly entrenched in the district as, a source of 

1S52] The District of Natal. 237 

constant danger, and on several occasions panics took place 
among them. Thus when intelligence was received of the 
rebellion in British Kaffraria in December 1850 there was 
a general flight from lonely farms, and business of all kinds 
was suspended for several weeks. Among other precautions 
to ensure safety, the government thought it prudent to 
disband the Kaffir police, through fear of their rising in 
rebellion. Various wild schemes were continually being 
brought forward to remove, or at least to reduce, the 
danger. The plan that met with most general acceptance 
was the breaking up of the great locations and the formation 
of a large number of small ones, between and around which 
the ground was to be occupied by Europeans only. But such 
a scheme, even if approved of by the imperial authorities, 
would have needed a much greater force to put it in 
execution than the government had at its disposal. The 
garrison at this time consisted of the 45th regiment, six 
hundred and seventeen officers and men, thirty-four Cape 
mounted riflemen, twenty-two artillerymen, and seventeen 
engineers. In July 1848 the head quarters and one wing 
of the 73rd regiment were sent up from British KafTraria 
to act, if necessary, against the farmers who were then 
opposing her Majesty's authority on the other side of the 
Drakensberg, but this addition to the garrison was not 
intended to be permanent. 

The condition of things was admitted in England to be 
unsatisfactory, and on the 14th of February 1852 Earl Grey 
wrote to Lieutenant-Governor Pine that " the system pursued 
towards the natives ought as soon as possible to be replaced 
by a better one. In his opinion this might best be effected 
by employing the chiefs as the agents and instruments of 
British authority." This led to the appointment on the 25th 
of September 1852 of a " commission to investigate and report 
upon the best measures to be adopted with the view to the 
future government of the natives/' A vast amount of 
evidence was taken by this commission, but nothing of any 
material consequence was effected by it. It could not have 

238 History of South Africa. [ l8 54 

been otherwise, when the sole remedy — physical force — was 
wanting. The weak cannot carry out their views against 
the will of the strong. 

An alteration, however, was made in the titles of the 
officials dealing with the blacks. On the 22nd of November 
1852 an ordinance for the appointment of assistant resident 
magistrates was passed, and thereafter the former title, 
which implied that the Bantu were nearly independent of 
the Europeans, was not used. The office of diplomatic agent, 
which in the same way denoted the independence of the 
Bantu, was abolished, and on the 30th of July 1853 Mr. 
Theophilus Shepstone, who had held it, was appointed 
secretary for native affairs. 

In 1854 Mr. Shepstone made a proposal which, if it had 
been carried out, would most certainly have been productive 
of much evil to the Cape Colony, and could hardly have 
benefited Natal. Between the Umzimkulu and Umtata 
rivers the upper terrace, or the high plateau at the base 
of the Kathlamba mountains, was at that time without 
other inhabitants than a few Bushmen. It was a beautiful 
tract of land, covered with rich grass, and drained by 
numerous streamlets, mostly tributaries of the Umzimvubu. 
Occasionally in July and August the cold at night was 
too severe to be pleasant, but otherwise to the Bantu it 
was preferable to the highlands of Natal. This territory 
was included in the domains of the Pondo chief Faku bv 
Sir Peregrine Maitland's treaty of the 7 th of October 1844, 
but to him it was useless, and it was anticipated that he 
would have no objection to part with it. 

Already he had expressed a wish to be relieved of the 
responsibility of preserving order in another portion of 
the territory assigned to him by the treaty, and not 
occupied by his people. The same Bushmen who were 
leagued with the Bacas, and whose conduct caused the 
attack upon Ncapayi in December 1840, nine years later 
stole a number of cattle from residents in Natal. The 
government then sent an expedition under Mr. Walter 

1854] The District of Natal. 239 

Harding to demand compensation from the Pondo chief 
under the terms of the treaty, and a thousand head of 
cattle were given up. At the same time Faku offered to 
cede to Natal the land between the Umzimkulu and 
Umtamvuna rivers, as he was unable to obtain control 
over the greater number of the people residing on it, and 
did not wish to be held accountable for their misdeeds. 
This offer was not acted upon until the 1st of January 
1866, when the British flag was hoisted on the left bank of 
the Umtamvuna river and the present county of Alfred 
was added to Natal ; but it indicated the condition of 
things in the Pondo treaty state. The cattle given up by 
Faku to Mr. Harding were in excess of the number required 
to make good the robberies by the Bushmen, and in 
November 1850 the lieutenant-governor returned six 
hundred head to the chief. 

Mr. Shepstone some time before had proposed that the 
whole of the upper plateau between the Umzimkulu and 
the Kei should be settled by Europeans, as a ready means 
of controlling the Bantu both in Natal and in British 
Kaffraria ; but the imperial authorities were averse to any 
extension of the colonial territory, and as the plan required 
a line of military posts garrisoned by two thousand men 
until the settlement should be sufficiently advanced to 
defend itself, it was not even taken into consideration. 

He then proposed that he should obtain from Faku a 
cession to himself of the north-eastern portion of the plateau, 
and induce some fifty or sixty thousand of the blacks in 
Natal to move into it. He was to accompany them in the 
capacity of their chief, to be -recognised as an independent 
ruler by the British government, and to receive a subsidy of 
£500 a year. In short, his plan was that he should be 
made the head of such a treaty state as those which Sir 
Harry Smith so wisely destroyed. This proposal found 
favour with Lieutenant-Governor Pine and the imperial 
authorities, Faku's consent was obtained without difficulty, 
and steps were in progress for carrying it out when Sir 

240 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 6 

George Grey arrived as governor of the Cape Colony and 
Natal and high commissioner for South Africa. He saw at 
once that it was fraught with danger, inasmuch as it would 
multiply the barbarians on the eastern border of the old 
colony and most likely not relieve Natal in the least, as 
the vacuum created would at once be filled by a stream of 
refugees from Zululand. On the 3rd of December 1855 the 
able governor addressed a long despatch to the secretary of 
state, in which he explained his objections to the scheme so 
fully that the imperial authorities caused it to be abandoned. 

In 1856 events in Zululand caused much disquietude in 
Natal. The old chief Panda had become so corpulent that 
he could not move about, and had lost all the energy of his 
younger years. Two of his sons, by name Umbulazi and 
Ketshwayo (Cetyvvayo as spelt by many writers), disputed 
the right of succession, and each gathered about him as 
many adherents as he could. It was believed that Panda 
favoured Umbulazi, but if it was so he took no active steps 
to support him, though the rivalry between the brothers 
threatened the tribe with destruction. " Two young bulls," 
he observed, " could not be in the same kraal without 
fighting, let them settle their disputes as they choose." 
The adherents of Umbulazi were strongest in the southern 
part of the country, and towards the close of 1856 they 
concentrated along the Tugela. Natal was therefore 
believed by its inhabitants, white and black, to be in 
imminent danger of invasion, as Umbulazi might desire to 
obtain renown after the manner of Tshaka, and cross the 
stream with that object, or he might be obliged to do so if 
Ketshwayo gathered strength. 

On each side the young warriors were eager for battle, 
and could hardly be kept in restraint. In their own opinion 
they had done nothing as yet to entitle them to be regarded 
as men, and they were clamorous that their leaders should 
attack some one, it did not much matter whom, that they 
might have an opportunity of showing their prowess and 
"washing their spears." On the 2nd of December 1856 the 

1 85 7] The District of Natal. 241 

army under Ketshwayo, which termed itself the Usutu, 
attacked Umbulazi's kraals on the Tugela, and a battle 
took place which rivalled in stubbornness that in which 
Dingan's power was overthrown. John Dunn, who after- 
wards became notorious in Zululand, fought on Umbulazi's 
side that day, but was afterwards taken by Ketshwayo into 
favour. Four or five thousand warriors had fallen when 
Umbulazi, seeing the destruction of his best regiments and 
that all was lost, endeavoured to make his escape to the 
northward. He had almost reached the Inyoni river when 
he was overtaken and put to death. Three other sons of 
Panda fell in the battle, and two who were subsequently 
captured died under torture. The Usutu were not satisfied 
with this, but massacred the whole of Umbulazi's followers 
that they could find, men, women, and children alike, thus 
" washing their spears " to their entire satisfaction. The 
Tugela was swollen, and most of those who entered it 
as their only chance of escape from butchery were swept 
off their feet and drowned. The only man of any note on 
Umbulazi's side that escaped the slaughter of that day was 
the renegade Englishman John Dunn, and it would have been 
well for Ketshwayo in later years if he too had fallen. The 
alarm in Natal did not subside for a considerable time ; but 
the Usutu respected British territory, and made no attempt 
to cross the Tugela. 

From this time Ketshwayo was the actual ruler of the 
Zulu tribe, though Panda remained its nominal head. A 
considerable number of the people, indeed, were not favour- 
ably disposed towards him ; but having no leader of mark 
to rally round, and knowing that unsuccessful opposition 
would be followed by their slaughter, they chose to profess 
a devotion that they did not feel. 

Early in 1857 the peace of Natal was disturbed by a 
petty chief named Sidoyi, head of a clan living on the 
southern bank of the Umkomanzi river. He was a young 
man of violent temper and ferocious disposition, whose 
conduct had been a source of anxiety to his people ever 

VOL. III. q 

242 History of South Africa. [1857 

since 1850, when he took over their government from a 
regent, his father having long been dead. He had been 
reprimanded previously by the British authorities, but had 
paid little heed to their warning. To his position as chief 
he added that of witchfinder, so that altogether he was as 
objectionable an individual as could be found in the district. 

Some ten miles distant from Sidoyi's kraal lived a small 
clan under the chief Umshukungubo. One of Sidoyi's 
followers married a girl of this clan, and at the wedding 
feast beer was drunk in such profusion that the guests 
became riotous and finally fought with their assagais. This 
is a common occurrence on such occasions, and unless some- 
one is killed, or at least very badly wounded, no notice is 
usually taken of it, the circumstance being regarded as a 
matter of course ; and if the beaten party were to exhibit 
their bruises and complain, they would only draw ridicule 
upon themselves. In the quarrel at this wedding feast, 
however, one of Umshukungubo's men was killed, and two 
of Sidoyi's followers were severely wounded. Sidoyi him- 
self was not present. At daylight next morning the warcry 
was raised by the people of the stronger clan, who attacked 
Umshukungubo's kraal, from which the residents fled, when 
their huts were plundered, and the assailants then retired 
with their booty. 

The worsted chief at once sent a report of what had 
occurred to Mr. Hawkins, the nearest magistrate, and 
entreated protection from the government. Mr. Hawkins 
replied that he would proceed to the spot and investigate 
the matter, and in the meantime everyone was to keep quiet. 
Sidoyi also sent to inform the magistrate of the quarrel, but 
did not wait for a reply. Three days after the first dis- 
turbance, at the head of five hundred men he attacked 
Umshukungubo, who with only eighty warriors stood his 
ground until he and twenty of his retainers were killed. 
It was then dusk. Next morning Sidoyi mutilated the 
corpse of the fallen chief by cutting off his right hand and 
taking out his tongue and right eye, in the superstitious 

1857] The District of Natal. 243 

belief that by so doing he would add to his own power 
that of his victim. 

Mr. Hawkins arrived a little later, but Sidoyi refused to 
appear before him. All parties were then summoned to 
Maritzburg to account for what had occurred to the lieu- 
tenant-governor as supreme chief. The survivors of 
Umshukungubo's clan responded to the summons, as did 
also some of Sidoyi's men, but the chief would not obey. 
It then became necessary to use force against him, or the 
authority of the government would have fallen into con- 
tempt. It was the most anxious time the authorities had 
ever known, for the eye of every black man in the district 
was fixed upon them. The clans were always ready to fall 
upon each other as the Zulu regiments had just done, so Mr. 
Scott resolved to utilise the feeling of jealousy that existed 
among them, and to punish Sidoyi at once. Accordingly 
some eight or nine hundred men, all eager for a fray, were 
called out, and were formed into two bands, led respectively 
by Mr. John Shepstone and Mr. Benjamin Moodie. On the 
18th of April 1857 these bands advanced upon Sidoyi's 
kraal from different directions, while Mr. Theophilus 
Shepstone, the secretary for native affairs, with another 
party including some Cape mounted riflemen made a detour 
to the southward to prevent assistance reaching Sidoyi from 
that direction. The instructions given by the lieutenant- 
governor were that all the cattle, horses, and guns were 
to be seized, and the chief and his principal men to be 
made prisoners; but that no huts were to be burned, no 
women or children harmed, and no assagai was to be used 
except in overcoming armed resistance. 

The expedition was successful in seizing the cattle and 
goats of the offending clan, with twelve horses and seven 
stand of firearms. The opposition was so slight that not 
one of the attacking party was killed, though one man lost 
his life by an accident, and four of Sidoyi's followers were 
slain. The chief himself made his escape and fled beyond 
the Umzimkulu, and the whole clan then submitted and 

244 History of South Africa. [1857 

promised implicit obedience to the government. The old 
men stated that they had endeavoured to persuade Sidoyi 
not to conduct himself as he had done, but admitted that 
they as his people deserved punishment for his acts. Com- 
munal responsibility is indeed so entirely in accordance with 
Bantu ideas that if a man is fined by a chief, and is unable 
to pay, his nearest relations must make good the deficiency. 
Sidoyi's people therefore never thought of trying to shield 
themselves from the confiscation of their property by 
pleading that their action in the matter had been involun- 
tary. They begged, however, that the government would 
not be too severe with them, but would grant them "a 
spark to kindle fresh fire," meaning thereby a few head of 
cattle. Mr. Shepstone accordingly restored sixteen hundred 
head to them, and further left twelve hundred head with 
Mr. Hawkins, from which to relieve any cases of distress 
that might occur among the people during the winter. 
Seven hundred head were given as a reward to the loyal 
force, and the remainder — rather more than three thousand 
head — were sold by public auction to defray the expense 
that had been incurred. 

A new chief, Zatshuke by name, was then set over the 
clan by the government. The people received him well, 
though he was not of their ruling family, and promised to 
obey him, a promise which they faithfully kept. Sidoyi 
was outlawed, and thereafter did not venture to appear 
within the boundary of Natal. 

A few months later there was a somewhat similar 
occurrence in the Klip River county. Matyana, chief of a 
clan of some strength, was accused of having caused the 
death of a man named Sigatiya, and was summoned to 
Maritzburg to account for his conduct, but refused to 
appear. Once before he had been punished for murder 
by the Natal government. On that occasion a charge of 
dealing in witchcraft had been made against his father's 
brother, Vela by name, of whom he was exceedingly jealous. 
Matyana had then caused Vela and his two sons to be 

1857} The District of Natal. 245 

killed, thus ridding himself of possible rivals. This offence, 
which the government regarded as forbidden by the order 
in council of the 8th of March 1848, as it was " repugnant 
to the general principles of humanity recognised throughout 
the whole civilised world," he did not attempt to deny, merely 
shielding himself under the assertion that his victims were 
sorcerers. He had then been fined five hundred head of 
cattle, which he paid, and the matter ended. 

In 1857 one of his followers, named Ntwetwe, became ill, 
and as his malady increased, a witchfinder was consulted, 
who charged Sigatiya with causing the sickness. Matyana 
asserted afterwards that he gave no order as to what was 
to be done in the matter, but whether he did or not, Sigatiya 
was seized and bound so that he could not escape, and when 
Ntwetwe died, three young men, relatives of the deceased, 
were allowed to torture the prisoner to death, without being 
prevented or punished for their conduct. This was the 
offence for which Matyana was required to stand his trial. 

As he would not appear, a force sufficiently strong to 
overcome any resistance he might offer was raised by calling 
out Langalibalele's Hlubis, with the men of some other 
clans, who, under Mr. John Shepstone's command, marched 
against him. After a slight resistance, in which two Hlubis 
and thirteen of the insurgents were killed, Matyana and his 
men fled to a jungle, leaving all their cattle — seven thousand 
in number — behind, which were at once seized. 

Mr. Shepstone then sent a message to Matyana inviting 
him to a conference, and after some hesitation the chief 
complied, but went with all his warriors fully armed. On 
the way another message reached ~ him that he must lay down 
his weapons, as it was against all law or custom to appear 
armed before an officer in authority. This the chief con- 
sented to do, and apparently the whole of the assagais of 
the party were left at the side of the path, though a few 
were concealed beneath his covering by at least one of the 
leading men. A conference then took place, both parties 
being seated on the ground. Exactly what transpired at the 

246 History of South Africa. [1857 

commencement of the interview cannot be stated with 
accuracy, as the evidence is conflicting, but it is certain 
that the discussion was of a violent nature and that there 
was much confusion. At its height Mr. Shepstone drew out 
a pistol and fired, but whether at Matyana or not is uncertain, 
as all was uproar and every one present was in a violent 
passion. A rush was then made for the assagais that had 
been left at some distance, but before they could be reached 
twenty-five of Matyana's men were killed. It was a deplor- 
able occurrence, and many years later it was brought as an 
accusation against Mr. Shepstone that he had acted treacher- 
ously towards people who had accepted his invitation to 
meet him in conference. It was even stated that he 
had arranged with his party beforehand to seize the chief 
when he should give the signal by firing his pistol. The 
evidence on which this charge rests is, however, so untrust- 
worthy that it cannot be accepted, and the probability is 
very great that the unfortunate event occurred in a moment 
of great excitement and under feelings of intense exasperation 
at the conduct of an unruly and defiant chief. 

Matyana escaped unhurt, and with a few of his most 
devoted followers fled into Zululand, where he afterwards 
remained. The government pronounced him deposed from 
his chieftainship, outlawed him, and distributed his people 
among other clans, so that his influence and power perished. 

The punishment inflicted upon Sidoyi and Matyana had 
such an exemplary effect upon the Bantu in Natal that for 
many years afterwards none of them ventured to disobey 
the government openly, and care was taken to issue no 
orders that would be likely to produce general discontent. 
The problem remained, however, how to deal with them in 
such a way as to prevent them from being a danger to the 
Europeans, to make them useful members of the community, 
and to induce them to adopt habits regarded by white men 
as essential to their own well being. In 1857 it was 
estimated that there were in Natal in round numbers one 
hundred and fifty thousand Bantu inhabitants. 

1857] The District of Natal. 247 

The number was constantly increasing by the influx of 
refugees from Zululand and Pondoland, as well as by the 
very large excess of births over deaths. The immigra- 
tion went on until something like a level of population was 
obtained, just as a level of water would result from an 
overflow into a partly empty vessel. That equilibrium was 
not yet reached, but in 1859 there was such a large number 
of refugees from Zululand that there seemed to be little 
room left for more, and thereafter the influx was much 

That the policy pursued towards the Bantu in Natal 
was so different from that in the Cape Colony arose from 
the circumstance that the imperial authorities were still 
extremely reluctant to colonise that part of South Africa, 
and wished to avoid the expense of maintaining a strong 
garrison there. The drain upon the British revenue was so 
great that, much as the policy of the statesmen of those 
days is to be regretted from the colonial point of view, 
it cannot be said that such principles were unreasonable 
or unpatriotic. There is a limit to the means of even a 
mighty realm, and a prudent government should not go 
beyond it. Without power to enforce any law that might 
not be approved by the mass of barbarians in the country, 
the administration was obliged to do the best it could to 
secure its supremacy by working upon the jealousies of the 
different clans, and to deal with the people through the 
chiefs. In the Cape Colony the object of the government 
was to reduce the power of the chiefs, in Natal the object 
was to support them. 

Thus the organisation, as far as the blacks were con- 
cerned, was entirely after the Bantu model. Each chief 
ruled his own followers according to Bantu law, and the 
lieutenant-governor for the time being was the paramount 
or supreme chief over the whole community regarded as a 
single tribe composed of numerous clans. Owing to the 
jealousies between these clans, the paramount chief could 
rule, as long as he did not violate any custom common to 

248 History of South Africa. [1857 

them all. He could not of course command the devotion that 
the hereditary paramount chief of every Bantu tribe enjoys, 
but his authority was respected by all. 

Under this system he could collect the trifling hut tax 
of seven shillings a year— not raised to fourteen shillings 
until 1876, — just as the paramount chief of a tribe can 
make a collection for his maintenance, though not fixed in 
amount, periodically from his people. There was no objec- 
tion on their part to pay this, which seemed to them quite 
reasonable. He could also call out men to perform public 
work, just as a Bantu chief can require his subjects to 
till his gardens or to do anything else for his benefit. 
This also was in accordance with their views as to their 
duty, though in later years it became objectionable because 
men were only called out from the locations and the mission 
reserves, and those living on farms belonging to private 
individuals were allowed to escape. In Natal this did not 
press heavily upon the people, except that the chief of a 
clan through whom the requisition was made sometimes 
selected only men who were not in his favour. There was a rule 
that one man should be sent for every eleven huts, so that 
a large proportion of the men fit for labour were never 
engaged making roads at any one time, and compared with 
the same system as enforced by the Bantu chiefs in Basuto- 
land it was not at all oppressive. 

the district of natal. 1845 to 1857 — (continued). 


The European inhabitants of Natal in 1845 consisted of 
about four hundred families of emigrant Dutch farmers, who 
were engaged in pastoral pursuits, and a couple of hundred 
Englishmen, most of whom resided in Durban. Others began 
to arrive soon afterwards from the Cape Colony and Great 
Britain, attracted by prospects of trade, or of obtaining 
ground, or of profitable employment as mechanics. Some 
of these were men possessed of a considerable amount of 
capital as well as an unbounded supply of energy. But it 
was only a ripple, not a wave, of immigration that set upon 
the shore. Five years after the landing of the English 
troops there were fewer white people in the district than on 
the day the Conch sailed over the bar. 

One of the chief complaints of the Dutch residents was 
that those who had not occupied their farms continuously 
during the twelve months preceding the arrival of Com- 
missioner Cloete were entitled by the new regulations to 
only two thousand acres of ground. They declared that 
occupation at that time was impossible to most of them, 
as they had been compelled to remain in lager owing to 
the influx of refugees from Zulu land. After the locations 
for the blacks were laid out another complaint was made 
by those who had occupied their farms, and were therefore 

entitled under the regulations to six thousand acres on 


25 o History of South Africa. [ l8 47 

payment of a yearly quitrent of £4. A considerable number 
of these farms were included in the locations, and their 
owners were consequently compelled to abandon them and 
seek ground elsewhere, which they were informed would be 
given to them as compensation. But plots of good ground 
six thousand acres in extent, without European claimants or 
Kaffir squatters upon them, were not easily found on the 
central plateau, and the consequence was that many families 
were in great distress. Believing that there was no security 
for life or property in Natal, the whole of the Dutch farmers 
prepared to abandon the country, and with what remained 
of their property to seek a new home elsewhere. But before 
taking the final step, they resolved to send one of their 
number to the Cape Colony to lay their case before the 
governor and ascertain whether he could afford them relief. 

For this purpose they elected as a delegate Mr. A. W. J. 
Pretorius, who had just been obliged to abandon his farm 
Welverdiend, about six miles from Maritzburg. Mr. Pretorius 
accordingly crossed the Drakensberg, and at Winburg was 
joined by Mr. Jacobus Duplooy, who was chosen by the 
people of that district to accompany him and complain of 
the conduct towards them of the British resident in Adam 
Kok's territory. 

Upon arriving in Grahamstown, where Sir Henry Pottinger 
was then residing, Messrs. Pretorius and Duplooy repeatedly 
tried to obtain an interview with him, but without success. 
He declined to see them, or to take any notice whatever of 
their complaints. Mr. Pretorius then, on the 16th of 
October 1847, wrote a long letter, which he addressed to 
the governor, but caused to be published in the newspapers. 

In this letter he described the distress to which the 
emigrant farmers in Natal were reduced on account of the 
land which they claimed not having been given to them, 
and by the policy pursued towards the blacks, whom he 
estimated to be then not less than one hundred thousand 
in number. He gave as instances of the manner in which 
they were favoured two cases in which he was personally 

1847] The District of Natal. 251 

interested. A spur of the Zwartkops location had been 
run in between his farms Welverdiend and Rietvlei, respec- 
tively about six and twelve miles from Maritzburg, and thus 
these places, upon which there were improvements that he 
valued at £3,000, were made worthless. Two farms to 
which two of his sons had established their claims, and 
which had been allotted to them, had been subsequently 
taken from them to be included in a location. In these last 
cases the government had repeatedly promised compensation 
in land somewhere else, but it had not yet been given. And 
what had happened to his family had happened to others, 
so that in the whole district of Maritzburg there were then 
only twenty-two or twenty-three occupied farms. 

On the 21st of October 1847 Sir Henry Pottinger issued 
a notice, giving as reasons for not granting Messrs. Pretorius 
and Duplooy an interview, the great pressure of other work, 
the length of time that would be needed for an investigation 
of their complaints, and his anticipated early departure from 
South Africa. A copy of the notice was sent to the dele- 
gates, which was the only recognition they received from 
the governor. 

Mr. Pretorius was thus obliged to return to his con- 
stituents disappointed and despairing of any relief other 
than a fresh migration. On his way to the Orange river 
he was everywhere received with the warmest sympathy, to 
such an extent, indeed, that numbers of people, men and 
women, resolved to throw in their lot with the emigrants, 
in consequence of which the stream of refugees from the 
Cape Colony was greater during the next few months than 
at any preceding period after. 1838. Material prosperity has 
always been highly valued by the old South African 
colonists, but it is not the standard by which their actions 
are guided to the extent that it is with Englishmen gener- 
ally, and it is often completely lost sight of, as in this 
instance, when sentiment of a powerful kind is roused. 

On arriving in Natal Mr. Pretorius met a number of people 
fleeing from their homes, among whom was his own family. 

252 History of South Africa. [1848 

His wife was lying ill in a waggon, his youngest daughter 
had been compelled to lead the team of oxen and had been 
severely hurt by one of them, and his milch cows had all 
been stolen by the blacks. The tidings that he brought 
destroyed the last hope of the farmers, and they resolved 
immediately to abandon the district in a body. While their 
preparations were being made Sir Harry Smith became 
governor, and on learning what was taking place sent an 
express to Mr. Pretorius asking him to delay the movement 
until he could visit Natal. In the beginning of February 
1848 he crossed the Drakensberg, and on the left bank of 
the Tugela, near the foot of the mountains, found the farmers 
with their families and all their possessions waiting for him. 
In a despatch to the secretary of state written a few days 
later, he stated that "they were exposed to a state of misery 
which he had never before seen equalled, except in Massena's 
invasion of Portugal, when the whole of the population of 
that part of the seat of war abandoned their homes and fled. 
The scene was truly heartrending." 

Nothing could exceed the respect which the farmers paid 
to his Excellency personally, or the kindness and confidence 
with which he addressed them. Sir Harry asked the cause 
of their leaving Natal, and received for answer "the 
allowing such an influx of blacks that there was neither 
protection nor safety for the farmers." He then said if they 
would return he would place things on a better footing, but 
they answered that "it was not possible to live among so 
many thousand blacks." 

The governor remained several days in the farmers' camp, 
and at length succeeded in arranging matters so that many 
of them agreed to remain in the district and a considerable 
number of those who had left it in previous years were 
induced to return. All who were entitled to farms of six 
thousand acres were to receive them in full property without 
any delay. Those who were only entitled to farms of two 
thousand acres were to receive six thousand on the following 
conditions : 

1848] The District of Natal. 253 

1. That the grantees should attend at the inspection of 
such farms by the proper officer. 

2. That the grantees should personally occupy such farms 
within six months from the date of the grant by the 
lieutenant-governor, and continue so to occupy them until 
actual measurement should be effected. 

3. That such farms should not be alienated, mortgaged, or 
let, for the term of seven years from the issue of the title-deed, 
without the consent of the lieutenant-governor. 

4 That such farms should not be executable by legal 
process, within the same period, without the like consent. 

These conditions were embodied in a proclamation issued 
on the 10th of February 1848, and a land commission, con- 
sisting of Lieutenant-Colonel Boys as president, and Messrs. 
Donald Moodie, Jacobus Nicolaas Boshof, and Andries W. 
J. Pretorius, with Captain Kyle, of the 45th regiment, as 
secretary, was appointed to carry them into effect. An 
explanatory minute by the governor, dated on the 24th of 
May, directed the commission to act in the most liberal 
manner. As Mr. Pretorius left Natal, on the 7th of July 
Mr. Jan Philip Zietsman was appointed in his place, so that 
the farmers were represented by two of the ablest men 
among them. 

When making these arrangements Sir Harry Smith was 
well aware that much of the land thus alienated from the 
crown would be at once disposed of, but he felt that there 
was no other way of saving Natal. If those farmers had 
gone over the mountains the district must have reverted to 
barbarism, for there were no Englishmen then ready to take 
their places. Along the head waters of the Tugela and its 
tributaries the Klip and the Sunday there were fewer blacks 
than in any other part of Natal, and it was arranged that 
as many as possible of the new grants — the land commission 
farms as they were afterwards termed — should be laid out 
there. Upon these and the registered farms in the same 
locality — that is those which were held by right of occupa- 
tion during twelve months before Commissioner Cloete's 

254 History of South Africa. [1848 

arrival — several hundred Dutch families settled permanently, 
and gave such stability to that part of the district that the 
lieutenant-governor described them afterwards as a most 
efficient border guard. 

In the course of a few years most of the registered 
farms in other parts of Natal were sold to speculators, and 
by a proclamation of Lieutenant-Governor Pine on the 5th 
of August 1851 the land commission farms were also thrown 
into the market if their owners desired to dispose of them. 
This proclamation annulled the last two conditions laid 
down by Sir Harry Smith, and permitted the owners to 
sell at any time on payment of a fine of two pence per 
acre if the farm was south of the Bushman's river, or one 
penny per acre if it was north of that stream. Gradually 
then the farmers sold their ground in the lower part of the 
district, and moved to the high plateau where their friends 
were residing. Undoubtedly it was injurious to Natal 
that large areas of land should fall in this manner into 
the hands of mere speculators, most of whom were not even 
residents, but in the condition of the country at the time 
that could not be avoided. 

In 1848 thirty-five families of agricultural labourers from 
the neighbourhood of Bremen in Northern Germany were 
brought out by Mr. J. Bergtheil, a merchant of Durban, 
with a view to their employment in the cultivation of 
cotton. This design, however, was abandoned after their 
landing, and they were located at New Germany, a few 
miles inland from Durban, where they established them- 
selves as market gardeners, and through their industry 
and frugality soon placed themselves in comfortable cir- 
cumstances. They were in all only one hundred and 
eighty-three souls. The success which these people attained 
as agriculturists, the proofs which they furnished of the 
capabilities of the soil, and the strength which a body of 
industrious peasants always imparts to a country, clearly 
pointed out one of the classes of settlers most suited to 

1849] The District of Natal. 255 

In the following year a stream of immigration for the 
first time began to set in from Great Britain. A gentleman 
named Joseph Charles Byrne, who had visited Natal in 
1843 and 1844, made a tour through England, delivering 
addresses upon the great capabilities of the district, and 
succeeded in creating a desire among many people to try 
their fortunes in it. He then made an arrangement with 
the imperial government, based upon the principle that the 
proceeds of public land sales were to be devoted to the 
introduction of suitable settlers. He was to deposit money 
in the bank of England, in sums of not less than £1,000 
at a time, to the credit of the emigration commissioners, 
Messrs. T. W. C. Murdoch and C. A. Wood, whose approval 
of the emigrants he should send out was required, as well 
as of the accommodation on board ship and provisions on the 
passage. He was to purchase crown land in Natal, which 
was to be put up to auction at an upset price of four 
shillings an acre, a rate fixed by the secretary of state in 
1847. For every settler over fourteen years of age whom 
he should introduce he was to receive on such purchases a 
refund of £10 from his deposit, and for every child under 
fourteen a refund of £5, or in other words he was to have 
fifty acres for an adult and twenty-five for a child, free 
of payment. 

Mr. Byrne then arranged with the owners of cargo 
vessels to take steerage passengers to Natal at low fares, 
and offered as an inducement to emigrants twenty acres of 
ground to each adult and five acres to each child. Numbers 
of mechanics, farm labourers, and townspeople accepted 
his offer and paid their passage money, which was only £10 
for an adult and half that sum for a child. The first of 
these immigrants left London in the brig Wanderer on the 
22nd of January 1849, and landed at Durban on the 16th 
of May. They were speedily followed by others from 
London, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Liverpool, and Glasgow. 

On their arrival they found that no plots of ground had 
been surveyed or even selected, and when after long delay 

256 History of South Africa. [185 1 

land was allotted to them by Mr. John Moreland, Mr. 
Byrne's agent, much of it was unfit for agriculture. To 
encourage them, the lieutenant-governor gave to each adult 
twenty -five acres additional, and to each child six acres and 
a quarter, still it was only with difficulty that they could 
make a living on these little plots. All who could obtain 
other employment did so, and it cannot be said that 
agriculture in Natal was much advanced by these immi- 
grants, except in the cases of a few individuals who were 
unusually intelligent and industrious. In other pursuits, 
however, many of them did exceedingly well. 

Some other persons got out a few settlers in the same 
manner as Mr. Byrne, and before the close of 1851 about 
four thousand five hundred of all ages were thus introduced. 
Then the scheme came to an end through Mr. Byrne's 
insolvency. In return for his own labour, the interest on his 
deposits, the maintenance of his agent in Natal, and all 
other incidental expenses, he received nothing from the 
enterprise but thirty acres of ground for each adult settler 
and twenty acres for each child that he introduced, and 
instead of that being worth four shillings an acre, its upset 
price, hundreds of thousands of acres superior in quality 
were being offered by speculators at less than one-fourth of 
that charge. 

The emigrants to a new country usually consist of a 
much larger number of men than of women, and Natal was 
no exception to this general rule. Of every hundred in- 
dividuals brought out by Mr. Byrne, 49 were men, 23 were 
women, and 28 were children.* This disproportion of the 
sexes was the cause of restlessness among them, and in 
1852 and 1853 many migrated from Natal to Australia. 

There was, however, a constant, though small, influx of 

Europeans which compensated for this loss. Professional 

* With those who migrated to Natal from the Cape Colony and elsewhere 
as independent settlers, the proportion of women was slightly greater. The 
port returns for 1850 give 1,736 males and 987 females as assisted immigrants, 
and 290 males and 172 females as unassisted. Under such circumstances a 
large proportion of the immigrants soon left again. 

1857] The District of Natal. 257 

men, merchants, planters, missionaries, and others were 
attracted to the district, so that at the close of 1856 it was 
believed that there were from seven to eight thousand white 
people in it. 

To encourage European immigrants, on the 7th of July 
1856 it was notified by the government that land would be 
given to suitable applicants on military tenure, similar to 
the system then recently adopted on the eastern border of 
the Cape Colony. Farms so given out were not to be less 
than fifty nor more than three thousand a.cres in extent, 
and in addition to personal occupation and the maintenance 
of a fully equipped European horseman for every thousand 
acres beyond the first, an annual quitrent of not less than 
£6 was to be paid. The quitrent, however, could be 
redeemed by fifteen years purchase. But the condition of 
the district was such that this system could not be carried 
out. There was nowhere a large tract of suitable land 
unoccupied, upon which a number of men could be placed 
together, as in the district of Queenstown ; and no one cared 
to occupy ground on military tenure without a strong party 
of neighbours to aid him in case of need. 

On the 29th of April 1857 Lieutenant-Governor Scott 
issued a proclamation offering the vacant crown lands to 
applicants in farms of from three hundred to three thousand 
acres in size, at a quitrent varying from one farthing to 
two pence halfpenny an acre according to the quality and 
position of the ground, but with a proviso that if not 
occupied a fine equal to four times the quitrent would be 
imposed. Under these conditions people already in Natal 
were very willing to take up the land, mainly for purposes 
of speculation. Much of it was leased by them to black 
tenants, usually at a yearly rental of five shillings for each 
family, and thus outside of the great locations a large Bantu 
population was soon found that it would have been 
dangerous to disturb. 

The English settlers in Natal, like those in the Cape 
Colony, objected to the Roman-Dutch law of inheritance, 

VOL. III. ' R 

258 History of South Africa. [1856 

which would not permit a parent entirely to disinherit a 
child except for special reasons, and which regulated the 
distribution of property in a manner they were unaccus- 
tomed to. The Dutch settlers, on the other hand, were 
equally averse to the law of primogeniture. To meet both 
cases, an ordinance was passed by the legislature of Natal 
empowering natural-born subjects of her Majesty to dispose 
of their property by will in any manner that pleased them, 
but leaving intestate estates subject to the South African 
mode of distribution. This ordinance was confirmed by 
the imperial authorities, notification of which was sent to 
the lieutenant-governor on the 6th of June 1856. 

The climatic conditions of Natal led the early settlers to 
believe that the most useful plants of the torrid zone could 
be cultivated to advantage along its seaboard. The land 
rises, as has before been observed, in terraces, the highest 
of which, at the base of the Kathlamba, is cool, receives its 
moisture from thunderstorms, and is adapted chiefly for 
pastoral pursuits. The central terrace rises to a height 
inland of from two to three thousand feet, has a rainfall 
usually ample for agricultural purposes, and is adapted for 
the growth of the plants of Southern and Central Europe. 
The orange, the guava, the plum, the peach, the fig, the pear, 
and the apple here attain perfection side by side. The lowest 
terrace presents a tropical appearance, owing to the hot 
Mozambique current which runs along the shore. The soil 
is rich and is drained by numerous small streams, many of 
the kloofs are well wooded, and the vegetation everywhere 
is extremely luxuriant. In the summer monsoon, from 
October to March, the wind comes laden with moisture from 
the warm sea, and deposits it so abundantly that the yearly 
rainfall is from forty to fifty inches. Sometimes, though 
fortunately very rarely, the downpour is so excessive as to 
cause great damage to cultivated ground. In the most severe 
storm ever known in Natal, from the 14th to the 16th of 
April 1856, no less than twenty-seven inches of rain fell at 
Durban. The Umgeni river rose in its lower course twenty- 

1846] The District of Natal. 259 

eight feet above its ordinary level, and overflowed a large 
portion of the flat on which the town is built. Such storms, 
however, have never been known to extend over large areas 
at the same time, though all parts of the south-eastern coast 
are subject to them. The warm belt rises to a height inland 
of about a thousand feet. 

The terraces are everywhere broken up, and hills and 
mountains in the greatest variety of form are to be seen. 
The rivers run in deep channels. The largest of them, the 
Tugela, Umkomanzi, and Umzimkulu, rise in the Kathlamba, 
and have a fall from its base of over six thousand feet before 
they enter the sea. In all the streams there are rapids 
between the reaches of deep water, and in many of them 
there are beautiful cascades. One waterfall, in the Umgeni, 
a couple of hours ride from Maritzburg, is three hundred and 
twenty-three feet in height. The climate everywhere, even 
on the warm coast belt, is healthy for Europeans. 

The first experiment that was made was with the cotton 
plant. Dr. Adams, of the American mission, procured some 
seed from one of the Southern States, which he planted in 
his garden, with a view of endeavouring to induce the Bantu 
to cultivate it, should the experiment prove successful. It 
appeared to him to be most desirable that some industry 
should be introduced among these people, which would 
provide easy occupation for the children who were passing 
their time in idleness, and likewise procure for their parents 
the means of purchasing articles of foreign manufacture. 
Cotton seemed to him the plant best adapted for this purpose. 
It was found by him to thrive as well as in the Southern 
States of America, and great hopes were entertained that 
the blacks would cultivate it extensively and that the looms 
of Lancashire would soon be supplied with raw material from 
a British possession. But these hopes of the missionary were 
doomed to disappointment, for the Bantu could not be 
induced to become cotton planters even on a small scale, 
neither then nor some years later when the government tried 
to prevail upon them to do so. 

260 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 2 

Some Europeans, however, were convinced from what they 
saw that cotton was an article whose production would be 
remunerative, and quite an enthusiastic feeling was aroused 
in its favour. It was the chief allurement held out by Mr. 
Byrne to draw settlers to Natal. But cotton can only be 
grown with profit where there is an abundant supply of 
cheap labour, and experience soon showed that the blacks 
could not be depended upon to furnish hands in the picking 
season. In one year — 1850 — about six tons and a half were 
gathered, but in succeeding seasons the first planters were so 
discouraged by seeing the bulk of their crops lost for want 
of labourers that they abandoned cotton growing in despair. 
It was taken up afterwards by others who believed the 
Bantu only needed kindly treatment to induce them to 
supply their services, and occasionally some one would be 
able to gather a good crop, which led others to embark in 
the same industry. It was found that the plant throve best 
a few miles from the coast, and that in certain places it was 
subject to damage from a small fly; but the great difficulty 
— want of reliable labour in the picking season — prevented 
its becoming a permanent product of NataL 

In 1847 the first sugar cane plants were introduced from 
Mauritius by Mr. Edmund Moreland. He had observed how 
luxuriantly the sweet cane used by the Bantu grew, and 
was convinced that the variety which produces the sugar 
of commerce would thrive equally well. He was not then 
aware that sugar can be extracted from the Kaffir cane, as 
later experiments proved it can be, though in quantities too 
small to be remunerative. In 1852 he produced some very 
good sugar on his estate Compensation, near the Umhlali 
river, about thirty-six miles from Durban, though his 
appliances for its manufacture were of the rudest kind. 
The industry, which needed a large amount of capital to 
commence with, was then taken in hand by others, experi- 
enced men arrived from Mauritius to engage in it, necessary 
machinery was imported, and sugar planting was soon firmly 
established as the leading occupation along the coast. But 

1855] The District of Natal. 261 

it may be questioned whether it has not been more 
injurious than profitable to Natal. The same want of 
labour that caused the abandonment of cotton growing was 
experienced on the cane plantations, and even at this early 
stage the proprietors were beginning to turn their eyes 
towards India as a source from which field hands might be 
obtained. None, however, were actually introduced before 
1857, so that it would be out of place here to describe the 
evil effects of bringing Asiatics into the country. 

Arrowroot, ginger, coffee, indigo, tobacco, and flax were 
all experimented with at this time, and all were found to 
thrive, though in more recent years it has been proved that 
some of these articles cannot be produced with profit. The 
orange in all its varieties, the pineapple, the banana, and 
many other fruits were introduced, and in 1855 began to 
be exported, chiefly as preserves. 

In 1855 the lung sickness among horned cattle was intro- 
duced into Natal from the territory beyond the Drakensberg, 
and caused enormous loss to the settlers, particularly to the 
Dutch farmers, whose principal support was derived from 
their herds. This induced them to turn their attention to 
breeding woolled sheep, which were found to thrive very 
well on the highlands. At a date somewhat later it was 
ascertained by experiment that a larger rate of increase 
and a better quality of wool could be obtained by pasturing 
sheep in Natal during the dry season of the year and 
driving them over the Drakensberg to feed on the interior 
plain during the summer season, and this system came 
largely into use, still they could be kept without difficulty 
on either the central or the high plateau of Natal all the 
year round. In course of time the lung sickness became 
less destructive, and at length a preventative was discovered 
in inoculation with virus in a mild form, when breeding 
horned cattle again became a favourite industry ; but sheep 
farming continued also to be carried on successfully. 

The European community, small as it was, exhibited a 
wonderful amount of energy. Associations, benevolent, 

262 History of South Africa. l l8 55 

political, agricultural, and commercial, abounded. The Natal 
Society offered to the public the use of a good library free 
of charge, and many of the addresses and lectures delivered 
under its auspices might have been listened to with interest 
in the greatest cities of the empire. Though there were no 
high schools, the elementary education of the children was 
not neglected, and there were numerous churches of different 
denominations. The Independent, Dutch reformed, Presby- 
terian, and Wesleyan were the principal religious bodies, 
and the Roman catholics were not far behind. On the 30th 
of January 1854 the right reverend Dr. John William 
Colenso arrived as the first bishop of the church of England, 
the see of Natal having been created by letters patent dated 
the 23rd of November 1853. The bishop devoted himself 
chiefly to missionary work, and in later years became as 
celebrated among the blacks for his interest in them as 
throughout the Christian world for his controversial writings. 
Sobantu — father of the people — was the name given to him 
by chance upon his first arrival, but ever afterwards applied 
in affectionate regard. 

The press was probably more active than in any other 
part of the world with double the number of readers. Two 
of the newspapers, the Natal Witness, first issued at Maritz- 
burg in March 1846, and the Natal Mercury, first issued at 
Durban in 1852, are still in existence. The Natal Inde- 
pendent, commenced at Maritzburg in January 1850, and 
the Natal Times, commenced at Durban in August 1851, 
ably represented different interests. There were several 
other English newspapers, but they had only an ephemeral 
existence. The Natalier, which first appeared in 1843, and 
the Natal en Zuid-Oost Afrikaan, commenced in April 1853, 
were issued for the use of the Dutch inhabitants, but were 
not long lived. 

On the 11th of April 1849 the Natal Fire Assurance and 
Trust Company was established with a capital of £10,000. 
It acted as a bank also, and as it enjoyed unlimited con- 
fidence its funds were found sufficient for all purposes for 

1856] The District of Natal. 26 


several years. On the 1st of April 1854 the Natal Bank 
was established, with a capital of £20,000. 

Maritzburg, the seat of government, and Durban, the 
seaport, were the principal centres of European population, 
but outlying villages were beginning to spring up. In 1850 
Pinetown, thirteen miles from Durban on the road to Maritz- 
burg, Verulam, on the Umhloti, Richmond, on the Ilovo, 
and Ladysmith, on the Klip river, were founded. The last 
named was made the seat of magistracy of the Klip River 

The whole territory of Natal was laid out in three great 
divisions : Durban, Maritzburg, and Klip River, in each of 
which there was a chief magistrate. These areas were 
subdivided into counties, which were provided with assistant 
resident magistrates. The highest court was that of the 
recorder, ab Maritzburg, and from it there was an appeal to 
the supreme court of the Cape Colony until 1853. On the 
16th of August of that year a case — Feilden versus Buchanan 
and others — came in appeal before the full court in Cape- 
town, when the chief justice, Sir John Wylde, and Mr. 
Justice Bell ruled that it could not be heard, owing to a 
want of the necessary formality in the ratification by the 
queen of the Cape ordinance No. 14 of 1845, which gave 
the right of appellate jurisdiction. Mr. Justice Musgrave 
dissented from this view, on the ground that the ordinance 
as it stood had been framed and passed by direction of the 
secretary of state for the colonies, and had been constantly 
acted upon ; but from that time onward no decisions from 
Natal were reviewed. The recorder went on circuit periodic- 
ally to try important cases. In November 1855 Mr. Cloete 
was promoted to be third puisne judge in the Cape Colony, 
and was succeeded by Mr. Walter Harding as acting recorder 
of Natal. 

The revenue of the district was steadily increasing, though 
even in 1856 it was very small for the support of an efficient 
administration. The principal item was derived from customs 
duties on imports, which were the same as in the Cape 


History of South Africa. 


Colony, namely five per cent of the value of British and 
twelve per cent of the value of foreign goods, except on 
a few articles which were specially classified. The total 
revenue received in 1846 was £3,095 9s. lid, in 1847 £6,557 
18s. 2cl } in 1848 £9,267 12s. 4d, in 1849 £14,329 2s. 5cl, in 
1850 £38,494 lis. 6d. 9 in 1853 £28,036 16s. 8d, in 1855 
£28,436 10s. Id., and in 1856 £29,451 lis. Id. The items 
from which it was derived were the following:— 

Custom duties 
Hut tax 

Stamps and licenses 
Transfer duties 
Land revenue 


Fines and fees 
Auction duties 
Land sales ... 
Port dues 


£2,881 17 

247 15 
1,063 10 

838 1 

256 11 

1,166 7 

43 3 

60 10 







£11,200 2 

9,251 2 9 

2,293 1 9 

1,625 14 2 

410 15 2 

355 19 5 

913 1 11 

712 1 3 

11,273 11 4 

177 2 

281 19 9 


£10,318 19 11 

10,403 8 

1,841 2 9 

1,805 2 11 

1,489 7 2 

1,273 1 1 

1,021 11 4 

669 14 6 

394 15 5 

146 19 

87 9 

£6,557 18 2 

£33,494 11 6 

£29,451 11 1 

In 1850 the arrival of an unusual number of ships from 
Great Britain with immigrants under Mr. Byrne's scheme 
and goods upon which duty was paid tended to swell the 
revenue, and the land sales of that year brought in an 
amount very much greater than at any earlier or later 
period, so that the total receipts exceeded those of 1856 by 
£9,043 0s. 5d. But if the items affected by the causes here 
named be excluded, it will be seen that an advance was 
taking place, though slowly. 

The principal article exported was ivory, which was 
obtained by traders from the country beyond the border. 
Some of the wool was brought from the territory beyond 
the Drakensberg, and also some of the butter and hides. 
The remaining articles in the list of exports exhibit the 
industries of the district and the progress that was 

S56] The District of Natal. 265 

Exports of Natal during the three years from the 1st of 
January 1849 to the 31st of December 1851 : 

Ivory ... ... ... ... £22,642 12 3 

Batter ... ... ... ... 6,250 17 

Horses, oxen, and other animals ... 4,574 

Hides and horns ... ... ... 2,726 9 

Maize, beans, peas, and potatoes ... 1,335 11 

Wool ... ... ... ... 654 15 

Cotton ... ... ... ... 477 10 

Tobacco ... ... ... ... 90 

Salted meat, tallow, and lard ... ... 48 13 

Other articles ... ... ... 5,503 11 

Total exports in 1849, 1850, and 1851 ... £44,303 18 3 

Or at the rate of £14,767 19s. 5d. a year. 

Exports of Natal during the three years from the 1st of 
January 1854- to the 31st of December 1856 : 

Ivory ... ... ... ... £35,853 12 

Butter ... ... ... ... 22,012 2 1 

Wool ... ... ... ... 19,107 3 4 

Hides and horns ... ... ... 17,485 5 9 

Salted meat, tallow, and lard ... ... 15,329 1 10 

Timber ... ... .. ... 4,791 7 4 

Maize, beans, peas, and potatoes ... 4,084 5 

Arrowroot ... ... ... .. 2,S57 9 

Specimens of natural history and curii -it ius 1,501 18 

Horses, oxen, and other animals ... 1,302 10 

Sugar ... ... ... ... 503 

Rum ... ... ... ... 275 7 6 

Ostrich feathers ... ... ... 228 3 9 

Fruit ... ... ... ... 129 

Tobacco ... ,., ... ... 119 

Yams ... ... ... ... 18 13 

Groundnuts... .„ .... ... 17 

Coffee (in 1856) ... 15 

Flax ... ... ... "... 8 

Other articles ... ... ... 15 

Total exports in 1854, 1855, and 1856 £125,652 18 7 

Or at the rate of £41,884 66'. 2d. a year. 

Most of the export trade was coastwise with the Cape 
Colony, but in 1855 shipment to England comnienced. On 
the 19th of August of that year the Siren sailed from the 

266 History of South Africa. [1848 

bay with a cargo of produce of the district valued at £10,400, 
being the first vessel to convey such freight direct to the 
mother country. 

During the period from the 1st of January 1845 to the 
31st of December 1856 the total value of goods imported was 
£939,751, and of articles exported £257,370, so that there was 
a balance of trade against the district of £682,381, which was 
made good by property introduced by immigrants and the 
expenditure of the garrison. 

The governor of the Cape Colony was governor general of 
Natal, and correspondence between the secretary of state and 
the lieutenant-governor passed through his hands. Ordinances 
to be in force in Natal could be passed by the legislative 
council of the Cape Colony until the 2nd of March 1847, 
when letters patent were issued ordaining that the lieutenant- 
governor and such three or more persons as should at any 
time be appointed under the sign manual and with the 
advice of the privy council should constitute a legislative 
council for the district. On the 8th of March 1848 her 
Majesty appointed the secretary to government, the public 
prosecutor, and the surveyor-general members of the legislative 
council, and a proclamation to this effect was issued on the 
25th of July, after which date ordinances were passed by 
this body subject to the confirmation of the governor-general 
and the imperial authorities. 

On the 30th of March 1847 an ordinance was issued by 
the legislative council of the Cape Colony 'for the creation 
of municipal boards in the towns and villages of the district 
of Natal." Under the powers conferred by this ordinance, 
on the 15th, 17th, and 18th of January 1848 the resident 
householders of Maritzburg assembled in public meeting and 
adopted a code of municipal regulations, which was somewhat 
altered by Lieutenant-Governor West and the executive 
council. On the 6th of March the amended regulations were 
unanimously adopted by the householders, and on the 10th 
the municipality was established by proclamation. Five 
commissioners were elected to form a council. The town 

1S56] The District of Natal. 267 

lands had been greatly reduced in extent by order of Lord 
Stanley on the 29th of June 1844, and the municipality 
covered an area of only three miles radius from the centre 
of the town. 

The council continued to carry out the ordinary duties of 
a municipal board until the 12th of December 1853, when 
in an action against a householder for payment of rates the 
magistrate decided that it had no legal existence, owing to 
the ordinance under which it was created never having 
received the approval «f the imperial government. The 
commissioners thereupon declined to act any longer, and the 
town was without a board for several months. 

On the 21st of April 1854 an ordinance was issued for 
establishing municipal government in towns containing over 
a thousand inhabitants in the district of Natal. The boards 
were to consist of a mayor and seven councillors. Under 
this ordinance Maritzburg and Durban were proclaimed 
municipalities on the 15th of May of the same year. 

On the 16th of May 1854 an ordinance was issued for 
establishing county councils, corresponding nearly to the 
divisional councils of the Cape Colony. They were to con- 
sist of the chief magistrates of the divisions, who were to 
preside in them, the assistant resident magistrates, the clerks 
of the peace, and one member elected by each ward in the 
county. On the 1st of June councils were proclaimed for 
the counties of Maritzburg, Durban, and Victoria, on the 19th 
of June for the county of Klip River, and on the 24th of 
June for the county of Umvoti. 

Preparation was thus being made for the establishment of 
representative government, for- which the energetic Europeans 
resident in Natal were generally desirous. A petition to this 
effect, with one hundred and seventy-five signatures, was sent 
to the queen in November 1848 ; another, with two hundred 
and thirty-one signatures, to the queen and both houses of 
parliament, followed in August 1852. Lieutenant-Governor 
Pine was strongly in favour of this desire being gratified, 
and though the white inhabitants were so few the imperial 

268 History of South Africa. t l8 57 

authorities resolved to grant them a considerable measure of 
self government. 

On the 15th of July 1856 a charter was issued at West- 
minster raising Natal to the rank of a separate colony, with 
a governor appointed by the crown. There was to be a 
legislative council of sixteen members, of whom four were 
to be officials, two elected by each of the counties of Pieter- 
maritzburg and Klip River, two elected by each of the 
boroughs of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, and one elected 
by each of the counties of Weenen, Umvoti, Durban, and 
Victoria. The members were to hold their seats for four 
years, and the council was to meet at least once yearly, the 
governor having power to summon, prorogue, or adjourn it. 
Six members were to form a quorum, and the speaker was 
to have only a casting vote. Acts passed by the council 
could be vetoed at any time within two vears after their 
receipt in England. 

The electors were to be over twenty-one years of age, and 
to possess fixed property to the value of £50 or be tenants 
of property with a yearly rental of £10 ; but foreigners not 
naturalised and persons convicted of crime were not to be 
entitled to the franchise. The voting was to be by ballot. 
Every year the fieldcornets were to make a register of the 
qualified voters in their wards, adding to or obliterating 
from the register of the preceding year, as might be 

There was a reserved civil list, placing certain amounts 
beyond the control of the council, but it was very small. It 
provided for the governor £1,200 a year, for the colonial 
secretary £700, for the treasurer, attorney-general, and 
surveyor-general, each £450.. for the secretary for native 
affairs £500, and for the benefit of the Bantu £5,000. 

The first step to be taken under the charter was to 
define the boundaries of the electoral districts, and these 
were fixed by proclamation on the 14th of November. The 
elections then took place, and on the 23rd of March 1857 
the legislative council met for the first time in the 

1857] The District of Natal. 269 

government schoolroom at Maritzburg. There were present 
the four members appointed by the crown, namely the colonial 
secretary, Mr. William C. Sargeaunt, who had held that 
office since June 1853, the treasurer, Mr. Philip Allen, the 
attorney-general, Mr. Walter Harding, the secretary for 
native affairs, Mr. Theophilus Shepstone, and the twelve 
elected members : Messrs. James Arbuthnot and John 
Moreland, representing the county of Maritzburg, Messrs. 
Humphrey Evans Knight and James Jenkins Gregory, 
representing the county of Klip River, Messrs. Jonas 
Bergtheil and Joseph Henderson, representing the borough 
of Maritzburg, Messrs. John Millar and Donald Moodie, 
representing the borough of Durban, Mr. Walter Macfarlane, 
representing the county of Weenen, Mr. Eric Landsberg, 
representing the county of Umvoti, Mr. James Kinghurst, 
representing the county of Durban, and Mr. Charles 
Johnston, representing the county of Victoria. Mr. Donald 
Moodie, who had ceased to be secretary to government on 
the 1st of October 1852, was elected speaker. 

And so Natal, with only the population of an English 
village, but full of life and vigour, entered upon its career 
as a distinct member of the British empire. 



As soon as matters on the eastern frontier of the Cape 
Colony and in British KafTraria had been arranged, Sir 
Harry Smith proceeded to the country beyond the Orange 
river. He went in the firm belief that his popularity would 
be sufficient to bring back the emigrant farmers to allegiance 
to the British crown, and that he would easily be able to 
establish a government that would satisfy them. In this 
he was mistaken. Twelve years of wandering and suffering 
had produced such a change in these people that they could 
no longer be dealt with like the men he had formerly 
known and respected. 

Attributing their losses and hardships to the action of the 
imperial government and the London missionary society, 
their antipathy to English rule had become so deep that 
willingly but few of them could ever be brought to submit 
to it again. In those twelve years many hundreds of 
children had grown into men and women. Education from 
books they had almost none, but they had been taught 
self-reliance as few people have ever learned the lesson. 

They believed that England was a country of enormous 
power, which its government used to oppress weak com- 
munities such as theirs. Of its history and even its 
geographical position they were utterly ignorant. They 
had an idea that the English ministry and the directors of 
the London missionary society, whom they confounded with 
the government, never inquired whether an act was in itself 
wrong or right, but whether its perpetrators were civilised 

men or savages, and always gave judgment in favour of the 


1848] Events north of the Orange. 271 

last. They scouted the very notion that absolute justice 
between man and man was the guiding principle of English 
rule. Emphatically, positively, they denied that it was, or 
could be as long as such prejudices as those they had 
experienced remained in existence. " All for the black, 
nothing for the white " was the principle which they 
affirmed guided English legislation. As in every community, 
the opinions of some individuals were stronger than those 
of others, but that sentiments such as these were prevalent 
among the great majority of the emigrant farmers north of 
the Modder river is unquestionable. They are found recorded 
in the accounts of every writer who visited them, as well 
as in their correspondence with government officials and 
their friends in the colony. 

The young men were as familiar with the use of firearms 
as any Kentucky backwoodsman could have been, and were 
ready with their weapons in hand to plunge farther into 
the interior. There was another element of the population 
still more hostile and much less worthy. A considerable 
number of Europeans of a low type of character had of 
late years been resorting to the country north of the 
Orange. Some of these men were fugitives from their 
creditors, others were deserters from the army, a few were 
even escaped criminals. The influence of such persons upon 
a simple and credulous people like the emigrant farmers 
was all for evil. They were ready for any deed, however 
desperate or wicked, or any enterprise, however daring. 
They were under little or no restraint, for there were no 
police. Assuming various characters, they fostered the pre- 
judices of the farmers, and traded upon their antipathies. 
Twelve years earlier a man like the new governor might 
have secured the allegiance of the emigrants to the British 
crown, and by enlisting the sympathy of the great majority 
in favour of order, have been able to curb the turbulent ; 
but it was now too late. 

Sir Harry Smith came to South Africa with a fully 
matured plan for the settlement of affairs north of the 

272 History of South Africa. [1848 

Orange. He would take no land from black people that 
they needed for their maintenance, but there were no longer 
to be black states covering vast areas of ground either 
unoccupied or in possession of white men. Such ground he 
would form into a new colony, and he would exercise a 
general control over the chiefs themselves in the interests 
of peace and civilisation. A system antagonistic to that of 
the Napier treaties was to be introduced. Those treaties, 
founded indeed on benevolent intentions, but utterly 
impracticable, attempted to subject civilised men to bar- 
barians. He would place an enlightened and benevolent 
government over all. But to enable him to do so, the 
consent of Adam Kok and Moshesh must be obtained to 
new agreements, for he could not take the high-handed 
course of setting aside the existing treaties, which had been 
confirmed by the queen. 

The governor therefore proceeded first to Bloemfontein, 
where Adam Kok was invited to meet him. On the 24th 
of January 1848 the conference took place. The Griqua 
captain talked of his rights as an independent sovereign in 
alliance with the queen of England, and assumed altogether 
a tone of such ridiculous self-importance that Sir Harry 
Smith's temper failed him and he threatened to have Kok 
tied up to a beam in the room in which they were sitting 
unless he acted reasonably. The captain then consented to 
an arrangement that in lieu of half the quitrents due to 
him under the treaty of the 5th of February 1846, he should 
be paid a fixed sum of £200 a year; -that his people should 
be paid £100 a year for the lands they had let north of the 
Riet river ; that the Griqua reserve should be cleared of all 
Europeans as their leases expired, upon payment to them 
of the cost of any improvements they had made, at a valua- 
tion by the British resident, Adam Kpk's secretary, and one 
emigrant; and that the above-named sum of £300 a year 
should be paid in perpetuity for the farms leased in the 
alienable territory, which leases should also be in perpetuity 
for this consideration. 

1848] Events north of the Orange. 273 

On the day following, 25th of January 1848, an agree- 
ment to this effect was signed, which was construed to mean 
that Adam Kok, in consideration of £200 a year for himself 
and £100 a year for distribution among certain of his 
followers, ceded his claim to jurisdiction over all the land 
outside of the Griqua reserve. Individual Griquas retained 
their property wherever it was, and were entitled to make 
use of ground held by them anywhere. They could sell or 
lease farms in their possession anywhere except in the 
reserve, the only right which they lost being that of 
reclaiming farms already leased north of the Riet river, for 
which they were to receive the compensation in money 
already mentioned. Purchases by Europeans of land within 
the reserve, it will be remembered, had been converted by 
Sir Peregrine Mai t land into leases for forty years, so that 
the principle acted upon was not new. The British resident 
estimated that the reserve was large enough for twenty 
times the whole Griqua people. 

At Bloemfontein the governor received addresses of 
welcome from the farmers of Oberholster's party along the 
Riet and Modder rivers and from Snyman's party along the 
lower Caledon. As many heads of families as could do so 
repaired to the village to meet him. Among them were 
some who had served under him in the Kaffir war of 1834-5. 
At a public meeting speeches were made in which old times 
were recalled and enthusiastic language was used concerning 
the future of South Africa now that a true friend of the 
countrv was at the head of affairs. At this meeting the 
governor observed an aged grey-headed man standing in the 
crowd. He instantly rose, handed his chair to the old man, 
and pressed him to be seated, a kindly act that was long 
remembered by the simple farmers, and which formed the 
subject of one of the transparencies when Capetown was 
illuminated on his return to the seat of government. 

From Bloemfontein the governor, attended only by his 

nephew Major Garvock, Commandant Gideon Joubert, and 

Mr. Richard Southey, went on to Winburg, where, on the 
vol. in. g 

274 History of South Africa. [1848 

27th of January, he had a conference with Moshesh. The 
chief, with his sons and the reverend Mr. Casalis, who had 
reached the village the evening before, rode out to meet him 
as he approached. An hour after his arrival the formal 
conference took place. There were present, Sir Harry- 
Smith, his private secretary Mr. Southey, the chief Moshesh 
with some of his sons, brothers, and counsellors, and Mr. 
Casalis, who interpreted. 

The governor hastily explained that the object he wished 
to secure was a permanent condition of peace, harmony, and 
tranquillity. He intended, therefore, to proclaim the 
sovereignty of the queen over all the country in which the 
emigrant farmers were residing, and to establish magistracies, 
churches, and schools wherever they were settled. With the 
internal government of the coloured tribes or their laws and 
customs he had no intention of interfering, but on the con- 
trary desired to preserve the hereditary rights of the chiefs 
and to prevent encroachment upon their lands. The 
quitrents would be required to meet the expenses of govern- 
ment, therefore Sir Peregrine Maitland's plan to pay half 
the amount to the chief could not be carried out, but this 
loss would be made good by annual presents. 

Moshesh admitted the advantage of a paramount power 
in the country, and approved of the establishment of 
governmental machinery among the European immigrants. 
As to the quitrents he would say nothing, as he did not wish 
money questions to stand in the way of an arrangement. 
But he desired that no portion of the country which he 
claimed should be entirely cut off from his people, so that 
no one should be able to say to him thereafter " this land 
is no longer yours." He asked what arrangement would 
be made where a farmer was found living near a Basuto 

The governor replied that he must continue to live there. 
But he was in such haste that he was unwilling to enter 
into details of his plan, nor would he discuss the disputed 
questions between Moshesh and the other chiefs. 

1848] Events north of the Orange. 275 

At this conference Sir Harry Smith professed the warmest 
regard for Moshesh, and used the most complimentary and 
flattering language in addressing him. In the afternoon of 
the same day the governor, holding the Basuto chief by the 
hand, introduced him to the farmers assembled at Winburg 
as the man to whom they were indebted for the peace they 
had hitherto enjoyed. 

Moshesh readily affixed his mark to a document in agree- 
ment with the governor's proposals. That he compre- 
hended what these proposals would lead to is, however, 
doubtful, as he could hardly have grasped the import of all 
he heard that morning. Sir Harry Smith's eccentricities 
were displayed in such a way that the chief's attention 
must have been a good deal distracted. At one moment 
he was pretending to snore to indicate the state of peace 
that would follow the adoption of his measures, at another 
he was illustrating the condition to which the Xosas were 
reduced by browbeating a Kaffir from the eastern colonial 
frontier, and again he was bathed in tears and speechless 
with emotion when laying the foundation stone of a church. 
While cantering into the village with the chief at his side he 
ordered presents to be made to him of two new saddles, a 
marquee tent, and a gold watch. 

At Winburg twenty-seven heads of families and twenty- 
two others presented an address in which they requested 
the governor to extend British jurisdiction over the country. 
The great majority of the inhabitants of the district had no 
opportunity of seeing him or of making known their 
opinions, as he passed through in such haste. He had been 
informed that the entire Dutch' population of Natal was 
moving out of that colony, and he was anxious to reach 
them before they could carry their purpose into effect. He 
therefore sent an express to Mr. Pretorius, asking him to 
delay the emigration, and at dawn on the morning of the 
28th of January he was in the saddle, hastening towards Natal. 

He was well received by the farmers who were moving 
towards the interior, and remained several days in their 

276 History of South Africa. [1848 

camp afc the foot of the Drakensberg, as the Tugela was 
flooded and he could not proceed to Maritzburg. On one 
occasion, when speaking with Mr. Pretorius, he took out of 
his pocket a draft of a proclamation declaring the queen's 
sovereignty over the whole of the country occupied by the 
emigrants, which had been drawn up before he left Cape- 
town. Mr. Pretorius remonstrated against its publication, 
and said if it was issued they would be obliged either to 
fight for freedom or to retire far into the interior, for under 
British rule they could not live. The governor replied that 
he believed the majority of the farmers were in his favour. 
Mr. Pretorius said his Excellency was deceived in that 
respect. It was then arranged that Mr. Pretorius should 
proceed across the mountains, attend public meetings at 
every centre of population, and ascertain the views of the 
people. With this object he started without any delay, 
leaving the governor in the camp. 

To this point all the relations of these conferences agree, 
but now comes a great discrepancy. Mr. Pretorius, in an 
account of events some time before and after this date 
which he drew up on the 5th of February 1852 for the 
assistant commissioners Hogg and Owen, affirmed that the 
governor promised before he left that the proclamation 
would not be issued if a majority of the emigrants should 
be found opposed to it. His correspondence during 1848, 
including that with the governor himself, contains frequent 
references to such a promise. Sir Harry Smith, in his 
despatches and memoranda, states that Mr. Pretorius was 
quite willing that the country south of the Vaal should be 
proclaimed under British sovereignty, but it was agreed 
between them that the territory north of that river was not 
to be so proclaimed unless a majority of the emigrants 
should be found to favour the measure. And in accordance 
with this arrangement the wording of the proclamation as 
originally drawn up was altered, so as to leave the 
Transvaal emigrants undisturbed. There must have been a 
misunderstanding by Mr. Pretorius, or a confusion of the 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty, 277 

Modder river with the Yaal by the governor, as there is 
no other way of accounting for the discrepancy in the 

On the 3rd of February 1848 Sir Harry Smith issued 
from the emigrant camp on the bank of the Tngela a pro- 
clamation in which the sovereignty of her Majesty the queen 
of England was declared over the whole country between 
the Orange and the Vaal eastward to the Kathlamba 

In this proclamation the objects are stated to be the 
protection and preservation of the just and hereditary rights 
of the native chiefs and the rule and welfare of the European 
settlers. Under it, disputes as to territory between the 
chiefs and all matters affecting the peace and harmony of 
South Africa were to be settled by the paramount authority, 
but there was to be no interference with the internal 
government of the clans. The Europeans and such blacks 
as chose to live with them were to be brought under the 
jurisdiction of magistrates, and they alone were to provide 
the means of carrying on the government. 

In issuing this proclamation Sir Harry Smith was full of 
confidence in his personal influence with the emigrants. 
When Major Warden, the British resident, expressed an 
opinion that if the queen's authority was proclaimed north 
of the Orange river, additional troops would be requisite, his 
Excellency replied, "My dear fellow, pray bear in mind that 
the boers are my children, and I will have none other here 
for my soldiers ; your detachment will march for the colony 
immediately." And in this confidence a garrison of only 
fifty or sixty Cape mounted riflemen was left to defend a 
territory more than fifty thousand square miles in extent. 

Mr. Pretorius proceeded to Winburg, and thence to 
Ohrigstad, holding meetings, and ascertaining that the 
majority of the people were opposed to British rule. He 
then returned, and found that the proclamation had been 
issued some time. But as it extended the queen's sovereignty 
only to the Vaal, by crossing that river the farmers could 

278 History of South Africa. [1848 

escape its operation. Large numbers were moving north- 
ward. Mr. Pretorius joined them, and fixed his residence 
at Magalisberg. The governor appointed him a member of 
the land commission of Natal, but he declined to accept the 
office. From this date Major Warden's reports contain 
frequent charges against him of endeavouring to keep up the 
agitation of the emigrants. 

On the 8th of March Sir Harry Smith proclaimed a form 
of government for the Orange River Sovereignty, as the 
country between the Vaal and Orange rivers and the 
Drakensberg was henceforth termed. The British resident, 
in the absence of the high commissioner, was to be the chief 
authority and president of all boards or commissions. 
Bloemfontein was to be the seat of government. A civil 
commissioner and resident magistrate was to be stationed 
at Winburg, and one in the neighbourhood of the lower 
Caledon. Persons charged with the commission of crimes 
of magnitude were to be sent to Colesberg for trial before a 
judge of the Cape Colony. There was to be a land com- 
mission for each district, consisting of the civil commissioner, 
two surveyors, and one burgher elected by the people. The 
first duty of the land commissions was to be the division of 
the Sovereignty into three districts, to be called Bloemfon- 
tein, Caledon River, and Winburg. Commandants and 
fieldcornets were to be elected by the people. The land 
commissions were to inspect and register each farm, fix 
quitrents from £2 to £8 per annum, and then to issue 
certificates, which were to be valid as titles. They were to 
have the final decision of complaints concerning land outside 
the reserves. The farms were to be held under military 
tenure. Every able-bodied man was to turn out in defence 
of the queen and her allies, whenever called upon to do so. 
The coloured people in the reserves were to be dealt with 
only through the chiefs. 

The governor estimated that the revenue from quitrents 
and licenses would be from £5,000 to £10,000 a year. The 
cost of government he put down at £4,464 The balance he 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 279 

proposed to apply to the maintenance of churches and 

The imperial authorities reluctantly approved of these 
proclamations. They gave their consent to the addition of 
the country between the Orange and the Vaal to the British 
dominions, not in any grasping or seltish spirit, but with the 
benevolent design of preventing disorder and bloodshed. 
The step was approved of in the sincere belief that the black 
people required protection from the Europeans and would 
therefore welcome English rule, and that the better disposed 
farmers, being in a condition of anarchy and extreme poverty, 
would gladly submit to a settled government, which was not 
intended to prevent them from regulating most of their 
affairs in any manner that suited them. 

On the 8th of March Mr. Thomas Jervis Biddulph was 
appointed civil commissioner and resident magistrate of 
Winburg, and on the 22nd of the same month Mr. James 
O'Reilly received a similar appointment to the district of 
Caledon River. The British resident, in addition to his 
other duties, was required to act as civil commissioner and 
resident magistrate of the district of Bloemfontein. 

The annunciation of British authority over the district 
of Winburg, which for ten years had been part of an 
independent republic, was immediately followed by such 
excitement among the farmers that Sir Harry Smith deemed 
it necessary to issue a manifesto against agitators. On the 
29th of March he published a long and strangely worded 
notice, partly historical, partly descriptive, remonstrating, 
advising, appealing, and threatening by turns, and ending 
by proposing a common prayer to God. The issue of this 
manifesto drew forth several addresses from the farmers in 
the Sovereignty. In one with three hundred and sixty-nine 
signatures, and another with one hundred and eighty-nine, 
a desire to be independent was expressed. In a third, 
Commandant J. T. Sn3'man and one hundred and eighty-one 
others assured his Excellency of their unfeigned allegiance 
and attachment to the queen. Subsequent events showed 

280 History of South Africa, [1848 

that these numbers correctly represented the proportion of 
those who were opposed to or in favour of British rule. 

Beyond the Vaal there was much sympathy with the 
disaffected party in the Sovereignty, and particularly with 
the burghers of Winburg, who were regarded as fellow- 
citizens of a common republic. On the loth of May a 
meeting was held at Potchefstroom, when resolutions were 
passed deprecating the threatening language in the high 
commissioner's manifesto. These resolutions were com- 
municated to his Excellency in a letter signed by Messrs. 
Hendrik Potgieter, A. W. Pretorius, G. J. Kruger, J. H. L. 
Kock, L. R. Botha, J. P. Delport, A. F. Spies, H. Steyn, 
and seven others of less note. 

On the 22nd of May Mr. Biddulph arrived at Winburg 
with Major Warden, by whom he was installed as civil 
commissioner and resident magistrate. A few days later a 
meeting of the republican party took place at a farm in the 
neighbourhood, when it was resolved not to submit without 
a struggle. Landdrost Willem Jacobs, the heemraden, the 
fieldcornet, and Commandants Bester and Bezuidenhout 
then notified in writing that they would not acknowledge 
Mr. Biddulph. The disaffected inhabitants of the district 
sent to Mr. Pretorius to inform him that they were resolved 
to take up arms in vindication of their right to independence, 
and besought him to come and assist them. He had already 
been appointed commandant-general by the burghers along 
both banks of the Vaal. Willem Jacobs, who went to 
Magalisberg on this mission, found Mr. Pretorius in trouble, 
for his wife, of whom he was tenderly fond, was lying so ill 
that recovery was hopeless. Dying as she was, this noble- 
minded South African woman advised her husband to do 
what she held to be his duty. " By staying here," she said, 
" you cannot save my life ; your countrymen need your 
services, go and help them." He went, and never saw her 
again, for she died before his return. 

On the 21st of June Mr. Biddulph was informed that if 
he remained longer at Winburg he would be arrested, so he 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 281 

retired to Bloemfoutein, but was immediately sent back by 
Major Warden. Two surveyors, Messrs. Frederick Rex and 
Robert Moffat, had in the meantime been appointed to the 
Winburg land commission, but on the 11th of July Mr. 
Biddulph reported that the condition of the district was such 
that the commission could not proceed with its duties. He 
had just received intimation that Mr. Pretorius with an 
armed party was encamped on the False river. This intima- 
tion had been written in pencil by a deserter from the 45th 
regiment named Michael Quigley, on the back of a free 
pardon which bad been sent to him ; and it was brought to 
Winburg by one of his comrades. Quigley had intended to 
proceed to the Mooi river to inform a party of deserters 
there that the governor offered them pardon on condition 
of their return to their colours, but on the wav he was 
pressed into the emigrant commando. 

On the 12th of July Commandant-General Pretorius 
arrived at Winburg. There he published a notice that no 
person would be allowed to remain neutral, and that all who 
would not join in " the war of freedom " must cross the 
Orange before the 20th of the month. The small party at 
Winburg who were well affected towards the British govern- 
ment, among whom were Messrs. Gerrit Hendrik Meyer, 
Johannes I. J. Fick, the members of the Wessels family, 
and a few others, went into lager and defied Pretorius. 
Commandant J. T. Snyman and his party on the lower 
Caledon, and Michiel Oberholster and his party on the 
Modder river, did the same. 

Mr. Biddulph made his escape from Winburg just before 
the commando entered the village. He rode as fast as he 
could towards Bloemfontein, and on the morning of the 
13th met Major Warden about six miles from the residency 
engaged in giving out land certificates. The major had an 
escort of twelve mounted riflemen with him. It was resolved 
at once to proceed to Bloemfontein to send a report to the 
governor, and then to commence throwing up earthworks 
for defence. The major and Mr. Biddulph were riding a few 

282 History of South Africa, [1848 

hundred yards ahead of the escort when they encountered a 
burgher patrol of twenty-five men, who endeavoured to make 
prisoners of them. It was only the speed of their horses 
and the firm stand made by the escort that saved them. 
The burghers came within talking distance, and informed 
Major Warden that their object was to take him to Com- 
mandant-General Pretorius' camp that he might see the 
strength of the emigrants and report to the governor that 
they were united and determined not to submit to British 
rule. The major promised to send Mr. Frederick Rex to 
see and report. 

The clerk Mr. Isaac Dyason, some relatives of Mr. Biddulph 
who lived with him, and the two constables were in Winburg 
when the emigrant commando entered the village. Most of 
their property was seized and confiscated, but they were 
allowed to leave in safety, and reached Bloemfontein early 
on the morning of the 16th. 

On the 17th of July Commandant-General Pretorius 
formed a camp within two miles of Bloemfontein, and with 
four hundred men rode to the outskirts of the village. He 
then sent a letter to Major Warden giving him one hour to 
consider whether he would surrender the country or have it 
taken from him by force. For the previous three days the 
troops had been employed endeavouring to make their camp 
defensible, but the work was not half completed. The 
major had two cannon, and the force under his command 
consisted of forty-five trained Hottentot soldiers of the Cape 
mounted rifles and twelve raw recruits. There were also in 
Bloemfontein forty- two civilians capable of bearing arms 
and about two hundred women and children. Mr. Rex, 
who had been two days with the emigrant commando, 
reported that it consisted of a thousand men. 

Under these circumstances Major Warden requested an 
interview with Mr. Pretorius half way between his camp and 
Bloemfontein. This was conceded, and after a brief parley 
conditions of capitulation were agreed to, under which the 
troops and inhabitants were permitted to retire to the Cape 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 283 

Colony with all their movable property, public and private, 
and waggons were furnished by Mr. Pretorius to take them 
to Colesberg. 

On the 20th the commando entered Bloemfontein. Next 
day a long manifesto was drawn up and signed by the 
commandants, fieldcornets, and about nine hundred others. 
It was addressed to Sir Harrv Smith. Its burden was 
British partiality for the blacks, which made life and 
property insecure in a British colony. To barbarians, it 
declared, freedom and the right to live under their own laws 
were conceded, but for white men there was nothing but 
coercion and oppression. As the high commissioner had 
stated that if a majority of the inhabitants were averse to 
her Majesty's sovereignty he would not proclaim it, it was 
hoped that the events which had taken place would prove to 
him what the opinions of the people were. 

From Bloemfontein the burgher commando marched to 
Middelvlei, on the north bank of the Orange, and within 
easy communication from Colesberg. There a temporary 
camp was formed. The British resident, with the troops 
and civilians from Bloemfontein, was on the colonial 
bank of the river, as he had not cared to go on to the 

On the 22nd of July Major Warden's report of the 13th 
reached Capetown. The energetic governor immediately 
issued orders for all the available troops in the colony 
to march to Colesberg. That afternoon he published a 
proclamation offering a reward of £1,000 for the appre- 
hension of Pretorius or for such information as would 
lead to his apprehension. This was shortly followed by 
an offer of £500 for the apprehension of Willem Jacobs 
or for information that would lead to his apprehension. 
The governor then hurriedly made the necessary arrange- 
ments, and left for Colesberg to take command of the troops 
in person. 

On the 10th of August Messrs. A. W. Pretorius, G. J. 
Kruger, A. F. Spies, L. R. Botha. P. M. Bester, and four other 

284 History of South Africa. [1848 

commandants, from the camp at Middelvlei wrote to Major 
Warden on the opposite bank of the Orange that as it must 
now be evident that the emigrants were united in opposition 
to British authority, Sir Harry Smith ought not to trouble 
them further. They inquired whether the governor was there, 
and if so, whether they could see and speak to him. This 
letter was referred to his Excellency, who had arrived at 
Colesberg on the preceding day, and who replied on the 
14th, terming the emigrants rebels, but stating that Messrs. 
Gerrit Kruger and Paul Bester could cross on the following 
day to Major Warden's camp, where he would speak to them. 
Commandant-General Pretorius answered the same evening 
that as the governor persisted in calling them rebels they 
would not cross the river. On the 16th he again wrote to Sir 
Harry Smith, " requesting for the last time that the governor 
would withdraw the proclamation ©f sovereignty," but to this 
letter he received no reply. 

During the early part of the month heavy rains had fallen 
in the mountains of the Lesuto, and consequently the Orange 
was in flood. Five years previous to this date an enterprising 
Scotchman named Norval had placed a pontoon on the river 
some distance higher up, but as the governor had brought 
two india-rubber floats with him, there was no necessity to 
march out of the way to reach it. The floats were put upon 
the river, and on the 22nd of August the troops began to 
cross. The farmers did not attempt to dispute the passage. 
Five days were occupied in the transit, ana on the after- 
noon of the 26th, the soldiers, horses, guns, waggons, and 
stores were on the northern bank. Forty men of the 91st 
and twenty Cape mounted riflemen were left at the ford on 
the colonial side of the river to keep the communication 

Sir Harry Smith then found himself at the head of an 
effective force of about eight hundred men, consisting of the 
late garrison of Bloemfontein and four fresh companies of 
the Cape mounted rifles minus the twenty men left at the 
ford, two companies each of the riiie brigade and 45th 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 285 

regiment, two companies of the 91st regiment minus forty 
men, a few engineers, and some artillerymen with, three six- 
pounders. He had with him a considerable commissariat 
train, under direction of Mr. Henry Green, who was 
destined in later years to till the office of British resident. 
Within two days after crossing the river the column was 
joined by a few farmers under the commandants Pieter 
Erasmus and J. T. Snyman, and by about two hundred and 
fifty Griquas under Andries Waterboer and Adam Kok. 
The farmers were those whose lands had been confiscated, 
and who had been driven from their homes for refusing to 
join the commando under Mr. Pretorius. The Griquas were 
mounted and provided with firearms, and varied in appear- 
ance from the pure savage in a sheepskin kaross to the 
half-breed in plumed hat and European costume. 

Before the troops crossed the river, the emigrant com- 
mando fell back towards Bloemfontein. A rumour had 
reached the farmers that another army was coming up from 
Natal to place them between two fires, and they were 
undecided how to act. There was much discord in the 
camp. Man} 7 professed that they had no intention to fight. 
They had joined the commando, they said, merely as a 
demonstration to convince the governor that the great 
majority of the people were opposed to English rule. 
Others were determined to hazard everything on the issue 
of an engagement, and had chosen a strong position on the 
road to Bloemfontein as a fitting place to make a stand. 

Sir Harry Smith, who believed that the rising was 
entirely due to Mr. Pretorius, addressed letters of remon- 
strance and warning to the different commandants, and sent 
them to the emigrant camp, hoping thereby to break it up. 
Mr. Halse, who was his Excellency's messenger, was received 
with respect and was treated in a friendly manner. But 
Mr. Pretorius had the tact to put the question to the whole 
of the burghers whether letters from the governor, not 
addressed to himself, ought to be received by any one in 
the camp. The burghers decided that they should not, and 

286 History of South Africa. [1848 

Mr. Halse was obliged to take them back unopened. The 
emigrant commando was then already some distance from 
the Orange. Mr. Halse computed its strength to be between 
six hundred and eight hundred men. 

On the 27th the troops marched from the Orange river 
to Philippolis, and on the 28th from Philippolis to Visser's 
Hoek. The country they passed through was completely 
abandoned by its inhabitants. That evening some of the 
farmers with Sir Harry Smith were sent out as scouts. A 
little after midnight they returned and reported that they 
had examined the country as far as Boomplaats, some fifteen 
miles ahead, without meeting any one. 

At dawn on the morning of the 29th the column moved 
forward. At this season the sun at mid-day is still low in 
the heavens, and the temperature on the highlands of South 
Africa is such as Europeans most enjoy. That day there 
was not a cloud in the sky, but the dry rarified air until 
nearly noon was clear and bracing, and had its ordinary 
effect of giving vigour and buoyancy of spirits to those who 
breathed it. 

The troops halted at Touwfontein, the old camping place 
of Sir Peregrine Maitland, to rest and take their morning 
meal. This over, they resumed the march. In front rode 
the Cape corps, European officers and Hottentot soldiers, in 
dark green uniforms, with carbines slung at their sides. 
Following these were the men of the rifle brigade. Next 
came the sappers and miners and the artillerymen with their 
three guns, then the 45th, and last the 91st. Behind was a 
long train of waggons laden with baggage, stores, and 
ammunition, and guarded by the farmers and the Griquas, 
who rode in the rear and on the flanks. In this order the 
column moved at infantry pace over the open plain which 
stretches to within a few hundred yards of the Kromme- 
Elleboog river. 

There the features of the country changed. Close to the 
right side of the road, and parallel with it, was a chain of 
hills scantily covered with vegetation, but thickly strewn 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 28/ 

with boulders. Some distance in front this chain turned 
off almost at a right angle, and ran away to the left. Be- 
yond it was the Kromme-Elleboog river, a succession of 
deep pools with reedy banks and here and there a ford. 
Then came another chain of hills between the river just 
named and a feeder called Middel Water, which joined it 
farther down. In a valley in the fork thus formed, and just 
below the road, was the farmhouse of Boomplaats. On the 
far side rose a third chain of bills higher than the others, 
through a neck or pass in which the road opened upon a 
plain beyond. 

In the morning march a solitary coloured shepherd was 
met, who informed Sir Harry that the burgher commando 
had passed the night at Boomplaats. As the column drew 
near, the governor directed Lieutenant Warren of the Cape 
corps to take a couple of men with him and ride up the 
first hill to reconnoitre. In a few moments the officer came 
galloping back, and reported that he had seen the farmers 
in considerable force beyond the nearest range. 

Lieutenant Salis, with a troop of the Cape corps, was 
then instructed to ride on some distance in front of the 
main column. A minute or two later the governor put 
spurs to his horse, and, followed by his staff, joined the 
advance guard. He was the most conspicuous individual in 
the group. Up to this moment he was confident that no 
European in South Africa would point a weapon against 
his person. In this confidence he had dressed himself that 
morning in blue jacket, white cord trousers, and drab felt 
hat, the same clothing which he had worn when he met Mr. 
Pretorius in the emigrant camp on the Tugela seven months 
before. He was exceedingly anxious to avoid a collision, for 
the home government had sanctioned his proclamation of 
sovereignty on the strength of his assurances that nearly the 
whole of the people were in favour of it, and a conflict would 
prove that he had been too hasty in forming a judgment. 
His wish was to have a parley with the emigrant leaders. 
The soldiers, on the other hand, were full of ardour, and 

288 History of South Africa. [1848 

freely expressed a hope that they were not to undergo such 
a long and wearisome march without a chance of showing 
their fighting qualities. 

It wanted an hour to noon when Lieutenant Salis' troop, 
with Sir Harry and his staff, came abreast of the second hill 
on their right, which was not farther than sixty yards from 
the road. By the governor's order the soldiers had taken 
the caps from the nipples of their carbines, so that they 
could not be the first to fire. Some one exclaimed " There 
they are ! " and, as if by magic, the crest appeared covered 
with men. While the Cape corps had been advancing along 
the road, the farmers on the extreme left of the emigrant 
line had crept up the back of the hill, leaving their horses 
saddled at the foot. For an instant there was a flash of lire, 
and then a shower of bullets fell among and around the 
little party. The smoke had not cleared away when another 
volley followed, but by this time the soldiers were gallop- 
ing back to their comrades, and the governor was hastening 
to the head of the column. A rifle ball had grazed the face 
of his horse, and one of his stirrup leathers was half cut 
through by another. 

Three Hottentot soldiers were lying motionless in the 
road. On the ground beside his dead horse sat Lieutenant 
Salis, with his left arm shattered and a wound in his body. 
Two farmers came near, and he heard one say in Dutch, 
" Shoot him ! " He called out quickly, " You must not, for 
I have a wife and children." The voice came again, 
" Are you wounded ? " " Yes," was his reply. He was then 
allowed without molestation to crawl back, and was carried 
to a hospital tent in the rear. 

The governor, after relieving his feelings by a few hearty 
oaths, gave orders with as much coolness as if at a review. 
The guns were brought up and placed in position, and, under 
direction of Lieutenant Dynely of the royal artillery, a heavy 
fire was opened from them. The farmers dispersed behind 
the boulders, and then the rifle brigade and the 45th were 
ordered to charge. Captain Murray of the rifles was leading 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 289 

on his men when he received three severe wounds. He was 
carried to the rear, and all that was possible was done to 
save him, but he died that night. Under a storm of bullets 
the soldiers made their way to the top of the hill, leaving 
many of their comrades dead and wounded on the slope. 
Before the summit was gained the farmers retired. They 
fell back towards the centre of their line, and prepared to 
make another stand at the next hill. 

Meantime the right wing of the emigrant force, under 
Commandant Jan Kock, emerged from behind a ridge on 
the left of the English front, and dashed into the plain. 
The object was to get possession of the waggons and supplies. 
Against this division of the farmers, which was not very 
strong, the Cape corps was sent, and after some sharp righting 
Kock was forced to retire. His men were compelled to cross 
the range of the artillery in order to rejoin the main body 
of the burgher commando, and in doing so they suffered 
some loss. The exact number it is impossible to give. 

The 91st, previously kept as a reserve with the guns, 
were now sent to assist the rifle brigade and 45th in dis- 
lodging the farmers from the remaining fastnesses along the 
road. The artillery was moved forward, and the governor 
himself, as commander-in-chief, selected the positions from 
which its fire could be best directed. Colonel Buller, the 
second in command, had been wounded. The emigrants had 
only one field-piece, a brass three-pounder, which was so 
placed as to throw its shot along the line of road. But it 
was badly served, and did little or no execution. In the 
same manner as the first hill had been carried, each suc- 
cessive position was stormed, the farmers, when driven from 
one, retiring to the next. At the river the resistance was 
not very obstinate, but a stone cattle kraal belonging to the 
farmstead of Boomplaats was taken with difficulty. 

Driven from this, the farmers made a last stand on the 

slopes commanding the neck in the high ridge beyond. 

There they were attacked first by the Cape corps and the 

Griquas, who, being mounted, could follow rapidly. These 
vol. 111. v 

290 History of South Africa. [1848 

were beaten back with ease. The infantry was then brought 
up, and the whole force stormed the heights, when the 
farmers were dislodged, and immediately fled over the plain 
to the eastward. 

Sir Harry Smith, who had grown old fighting in the 
Spanish peninsula, in Kaffirland, and in India, in his next 
despatch to the secretary of state described the battle of 
Boomplaats as " one of the most severe skirmishes that had 
ever, he believed, been witnessed." There were no cowards 
on either side in that engagement. 

It was two in the afternoon when the neck was gained 
by the troops. The men and horses required rest, for they 
had been marching and fighting with but one short interval 
since early dawn. Towards evening they followed up the 
line of the emigrants' retreat some seven or eight miles, and 
halted at Kalverfontein for the night. 

Mr. Pretorius and the commandants who were engaged 
at Boomplaats afterwards asserted that their plans were 
frustrated by the action of the party on their extreme left 
who fired upon the governor's advance guard. Their intention 
was to wait until the whole column of troops was under 
rifle range from the steep hills beside the road, and the first 
shots were fired against positive orders. After that they 
did the best they could at every defensible position. But 
there was no discipline observable anywhere, except in the 
right wing under Commandant Jan Kock, who attempted to 
seize the commissariat train. 

The number of emigrants engaged is variously estimated. 
Commandant-General Pretorius, in letters written a few 
weeks before the battle, claimed to have a thousand men 
under his orders. But from the time they left the Orange 
their numbers were constantly dwindling away. Mr. Halse 
and those who were with him computed their strength a 
few days later at eight hundred at the very highest. When 
it was decided to make a stand at Boomplaats some of these 
withdrew, but exactly how many is an open question. At 
the time of the battle a portion of the commando was in a 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty, 291 

camp several miles distant. There was no muster roll, and 
the statements of those who were engaged along a line a 
mile in length vary greatly, as might be supposed. There 
were probably over five hundred emigrants in the engage- 
ment, and it may be taken for certain that there were not 
seven hundred and fifty. 

The loss on the English side was, in killed, two officers — 
Captain Arthur Stormont Murray of the rifle brigade and 
Ensign M. Babbington Steele of the Cape mounted rifles,— 
six men of the rifle brigade, five of the Cape mounted rifles, 
three of the 45th regiment, and six Griquas. Besides these 
five officers and thirty-three rank and file were wounded 
so severely as to necessitate their remaining in hospital. A 
considerable number also were wounded slightly, but were 
able to move on with the column. 

Among these last was Mr. Biddulph, magistrate of 
Winburg, one of whose arms was badly hurt as he was 
climbing a hill with the rifle brigade. Several other civilians 
were conspicuous by their bravery in the action. The farmers 
who joined the troops at the Orange were not called upon 
to fight against their countrymen, but remained with the 

The governor reported that forty-nine bodies of burghers 
were counted on the field of battle, twelve having been 
killed by one cannon shot. But this was afterwards known 
to be incorrect, and it was from the first denied by the 
farmers, who gave their casualties as nine killed and five 
wounded. They were all sharpshooters, and were not 
exposed as the soldiers were, which accounts for the 
disparity in loss. 

The day following the engagement, the governor and the 
troops pushed on to Bethany, a station on the Riet river, 
founded for the benefit of the Koranas in December 1835 
by agents of the Berlin missionary society. During the 
march the Griqua scouts captured two stragglers who had 
taken part at Boomplaats on the emigrant side. One of 
these was the deserter Michael Quigley, who has been 

292 History of South Africa. [1848 

mentioned as having sent to Mr. Biddulph intelligence of 
the movements of Mr. Pretorius. The other was a young 
man named Thomas Dreyer, a member of an emigrant 
family. On the 2nd of September the column reached 
Bloemfontein. There Dreyer and Quigley were brought 
before a court-martial, and were sentenced to death, 
which sentence was carried out on the morning of the 4th. 

The execution of young Dreyer was probably regretted 
by the governor himself in calmer moments, though he 
stated that he believed it struck such terror into the 
republicans as to prevent them making another stand at 
Winburg. By the emigrants it has always been regarded 
as more unjustifiable than the execution of Tambusa in 
January 1840. In their estimation one was a Christian 
patriot, the other a bloodstained murderer. Mr. Pretorius 
was blamed by many for not having kept Major Warden 
and some of the inhabitants of Bloemfontein as hostages, 
so as to prevent an act of this kind ; but he affirmed that 
he made no provision for such an event because he had not 
believed it possible. 

Just after reaching Bloemfontein on the 2nd, Sir Harry 
Smith issued a proclamation confiscating the property of 
those who had been in arms. All who had aided them 
were to be fined by commissions which he announced that 
it was his intention to appoint. A reward of £2,000 was 
offered for the apprehension of Commandant-General 
Pretorius, and £500 each for the apprehension of Andries 
Spies, Jan Krynauw, and Louw Pretorius. The farms of 
Jan Krynauw, Louw Pretorius, Frederik Otto, Jan Jacobs, 
Philip van Coiler, Jan Viljoen, and Adriaan Stander were 
declared forfeited. And the following fines were announced : 
Ocker Jacobus van Schalkwyk £200, Pieter Louw and Jan 
Botes each £150, Christoffel Snyman £100, and Roelof 
Grobbelaar £50. 

From Bloemfontein the high commissioner and the 
troops moved on to Winburg, and reached that village on 
the 7th of September. It was anticipated that the republican 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 293 

party would have made another stand at this place, but no 
opposition whatever was encountered. Here the first act 
was to reproclaim the queen's sovereignty over the whole 
country between the Orange and the Vaal, which was 
accompanied by a salute of twenty-one guns. This was 
followed by another proclamation, dividing the Sovereignty 
into the four districts of Bloemfontein, Caledon River, 
Winburg, and Vaal River. The new district of Vaal River 
was to comprise the country between the Sand and Vaal 
rivers and the Drakensberg, previously part of Winburg. 
The governor announced that a strong fort would be built 
at Bloemfontein and a large garrison would be stationed 

At Winburg one of the commandants, named Paul Bester, 
who had taken part with Mr. Pretorius, surrendered and 
expressed contrition for what he had done. Upon this he 
was merely required to pay £22 10s. towards the war 
expenses, and was then received into the high commissioner's 
favour. It was announced that all who had taken up 
arms against the British government were banished from 
the district of Winburg, except Paul Bester and Gerrit 
Kruger. A reward of £1,000 each was offered for the appre- 
hension of Willem Jacobs and Andries Spies, and £500 each 
for the apprehension of Adriaan Stander and Frederik 

The following appointments were then made : — 

Thomas Whalley Vowe to be civil commissioner and 
resident magistrate of the district of Caledon River, in place 
of Mr. O'Reilly, who, at his own request, was restored to his 
former office of clerk of the peace at Somerset East. 

Commandant Hendrik Potgieter, who had taken no part 
in the armed opposition to her Majesty's authority and who 
was highly applauded by Sir Harry Smith, to be landdrost 
of the district of Vaal River. Mr. Potgieter was then at 
Potchefstroom, and until he could arrive Messrs. Pieter 
Venter and Paul Bester were appointed a commission to act 
as landdrost. 

294 History of South Africa. [ l8 48 

Mr. Biddulph, civil commissioner and resident magistrate 
of Winburg, having been wounded, Mr. Frederick Rex was 
appointed to act for him until his recovery. 

Mr. Richard Sou they, who on the 20th of December 1847 
had been appointed secretary to the high commissioner, was 
directed to remain in the Sovereignty for a time on con- 
fidential duty and to act as president of the commissions 
for fining those who had been in arms against the govern- 
ment and those who had aided them. 

War tribute commissions. For Bloemfontein : Major 
Warden, Mr. Joseph Allison, Commandant Pieter Erasmus, 
and Mr. A. J. Erwee. For Caledon River: Mr. T. W. 
Vowe, Mr. Anthony O'Reilly, Commandant J. T. Snyman, 
and Mr. Hermanus Wessels. For Winburg: Messrs. 
Frederick Rex, Isaac Dyason, M. Wessels, and G. H. Meyer. 
For Vaal River: Mr. Pieter Venter, Mr. Paul Bester, 
Commandant Botha, and the secretary to the landdrost. 

At the governor's invitation, Moshesh and most of the 
petty chiefs in the Sovereignty went to Winburg to meet 
him. The Basuto chief was accompanied by some hundreds 
of his people, all mounted on horses, animals which were 
unknown in the country only twenty years before. Reviews 
of the English troops and Bantu war dances followed, and 
occupied the attention of all parties. The intercourse of the 
chiefs with his Excellency during several days was of the 
most friendly nature, but no further arrangements were 
made regarding the position of the coloured tribes towards 
each other or towards the Europeans. 

Sir Harry Smith left Winburg on the 16th of September, 
and arrived at Smithfield * on the 18th, where he was 

*That is the farm Waterfall, the property of Mr. C. S. Halse, where it 
was first intended that the seat of magistracy of the Caledon River district 
should be. The farm was then called Smithfield, in honour of Sir Harry 
Smith. The seat of magistracy was subsequently removed to the farm 
Rietpoort, where on the 1st of November 1849 the first erven of the present 
village of Smithfield were sold. The district, though officially known as 
Caledon River, soon came to be commonly called after the village the district 
of Smithfield. 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 295 

welcomed by a large number of the inhabitants of the 
district. A loyal address was presented to him, and at a 
meeting which was held, satisfaction was expressed with 
the turn that affairs had taken. On the morning of the 
19th his Excellency left to return to Capetown. He crossed 
the Orange at Buffelsvlei, where he was met by a number 
of farmers, at whose request he promised to have a town 
laid out at the place of meeting, and to give it the name 

The war tribute commissions proceeded by inquiring into 
the conduct of nearly all the farmers in the Sovereignty. 
The}? levied fines, varying in amount according to the 
ability of the individual to pay, upon all who were found to 
have been implicated in resistance to the queen's authority. 
The total sum realised by the sale of confiscated property 
and by the fines levied was rather over £10,000. 

A fort was built at Bloemfontein, and four iron nine- 
pounders were mounted upon it. A garrison was stationed 
there, consisting of two companies of the 45th regiment, 
one company of the Cape mounted rifles, and twenty-five 
artillerymen with three six-pounders. Major Blenkinsopp 
of the 45th was placed in command. The structure was 
named the Queen's fort. 

After the battle of Boomplaats the most violent opponents 
of British authority moved over the Vaal. The places 
which they vacated were filled by fresh emigrants from 
the Cape Colony, many of whom, unfortunately for the 
country, were mere land speculators. But as all of them 
were well disposed towards the British government, no 
difficulty was thereafter experienced in preserving order, 
until troubles arose with the Basuto tribe, that had so 
imprudently been assisted to acquire power dangerous to 
the welfare of South Africa. 



In October 1847 the synod of the Dutch reformed church, 
then in session in Capetown, resolved to send a commission 
to visit the emigrants north of the Orange. For this purpose 
the reverend Mr. Murray, minister of Graaff-Reinet, and the 
reverend Mr. Albertyn, minister of Prince Albert, with 
Messrs. Pienaar and De Wit, elders of Richmond and Victoria 
West, were appointed. 

The reverend Daniel Lindley of Maritzburg had formerly 
held occasional services at Potchefstroom and Winburg, 
otherwise the emigrants had been without clerical guidance 
for twelve years, though lay services had constantly been 
kept up. Marriages had been performed before the civil 
courts. Baptisms had been deferred since Mr. Lindley's 
last tour, when over five hundred children were brought to 
him to be admitted by that sacrament into the Christian 

During these years it had not been possible to have 

schools, and the most that parents could do for their children 

was to teach them to spell out with difficulty the easier 

passages of the bible. That was the one sole volume from 

which all the history, the geography, and the science known 

to the generation that grew up in the wandering was derived. 

And the simple language of the old testament, much of it 

applying to a people leading a similar life to their own, 

moving about in a wilderness, depending upon flocks and 

herds, fighting with heathen tribes for existence, had a 

meaning for them which it cannot have for dwellers in the 

towns of Europe. The very skies and the landscapes, the 


1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 297 

storms and the droughts, the animals and the plants, of the 
ancient scriptures were the same that they were familiar 
with. Thus they came to regard themselves as God's 
peculiar people and to consider all education beyond that 
of the bible as superfluous, and all that was not in accord 
with its science dangerous and sinful. These views did not 
indeed originate with the emigrants. Such opinions had 
been gathering strength in secluded parts of South Africa 
for five or six generations, but they reached their highest 
point of development with those who grew up in the 

The commission proceeded without delay to perform the 
duties entrusted to it. Everywhere throughout a lengthened 
tour it was received with the greatest satisfaction, and at 
every centre of population religious services were held and 
the sacraments were administered. Within the Sovereignt} r 
there was prior to this date only one consistory, that of 
Winburg. The commission organised another, for the farmers 
within the Griqua reserve, termed the consistory of Riet 
River. In November 1848 this consistory petitioned Sir 
Harry Smith to grant them permission to establish a church 
and village at Zuurfontein, about fifteen miles within the 
Griqua boundary. The place belonged to a Griqua named 
Piet Hendriks, who made no use whatever of it, and was 
willing to dispose of it for £900, which they were prepared 
to give. Adam Kok, however, objected so firmly to the 
alienation of this or any other ground within the reserve to 
Europeans that the project of building a church at Zuurfontein 
had to be abandoned. 

The synodical commission, a committee which regulates 
matters connected with the Dutch reformed church when 
the synod is not in session, towards the close of 1848 sent a 
second deputation to the emigrant farmers. Its members 
were Dr. William Robertson of Swellendam and the reverend 
Philip Edward Faure of Wynberg. These clergymen organ- 
ised consistories at Smithfield, at the place which later 
became known as Harrismith, and at Bloemfontein where, 

298 History of South Africa. [1849 

on the 6th of January 1849, the foundation stone of a 
church was laid in their presence by Major Warden. 

On the 12th of March 1849 the reverend Andrew Murray, 
junior,* was appointed minister of Bloemfontein and con- 
sulent of the other congregations. Already schools had 
been established at Bloemfontein, Winburg, and Smithfield. 
Through the medium of the synod, the governor was 
endeavouring to obtain from Holland clergymen and 
teachers for the still vacant places. 

On the same date the British resident was relieved of 
the duties of civil commissioner and resident magistrate of 
Bloemfontein, and Mr. Charles Urquhart Stuart was appointed 
to perform them. 

On the 14th of March 1849 regulations for the govern- 
ment of the Sovereignty were proclaimed by Sir Harry 
Smith, to come in force on the last of that month. 

A legislative council was created, consisting of the British 
resident, the four magistrates, and two unofficial members 
for each district, who were nominated by the high com- 
missioner from among the landowners of the district. The 
members so nominated were to retain their seats for three 
years. The council was to meet once a year at Bloemfon- 
tein. It had power to frame laws binding upon all persons 
in those parts of the Sovereignty which were not reserves 
for coloured people and all persons in the reserves who 
were not subjects of chiefs. The high commissioner was 

*Now (1903) D.D., recognised throughout the English-speaking world as 
an exceptionally talented and earnest evangelical writer, a man who is held 
in the highest esteem throughout South Africa for his eminent services in 
connection with education as well as religion. He was the founder 
in 1874 of the Huguenot seminary at Wellington in the Cape Colony, 
which has now branches in other parts of South Africa, and in which many 
hundreds of farmers' daughters are receiving a thoroughly Christian and 
practical education. He also founded in 1882 at Wellington the missionary 
training college of the Dutch church, in which young men are prepared for 
work in the mission field. In both these institutions the principal teachers 
are Americans, and from America much pecuniary aid has been received. For 
more than a quarter of a century Dr. Murray was moderator of the synod of 
the Dutch church in the Cape Colony. The numerous volumes from his pen 
were published first in Dutch and then in English translations. 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 299 

to have a veto on all laws. The various chiefs were left in 
full exercise of power over their people within the reserves. 

Hitherto persons charged with serious offences had been 
sent to Colesberg for trial. A high criminal court was now 
created for the Sovereignty, to consist of three of the 
magistrates sitting together. 

Commandant Hendrik Potgieter had not accepted the 
office tendered to him by Sir Harry Smith. The commission 
which had acted as landdrost of the district of Vaal River 
was therefore replaced by Mr. Paul Bester, who was 
appointed civil commissioner and resident magistrate. The 
seat of his court was fixed at a place then called Vrededorp, 
but which received the name Harrismith on the 16th of 
May 1849, when building lots for a village were first sold. 

On the 27th of June the names of the unofficial members 
of the first council were gazetted. They were Messrs. 
Andries Jacobus Erwee, Willem Daniel Jacobs, Jacobus 
Theodoras Snyman, Hermanus Wessels, Gerrit Hendrik 
Meyer, Abraham Smit, Pieter Slabbert, and Cornelis 
Engelbrecht. The first meeting of the new legislative body 
took place on the 18th of July. The proceedings were 
unimportant, and closed on the 21st. 

While these events were taking place, the animosity 
between the Basuto and Batlokua tribes was exhibiting 
itself in deeds of spoliation. One such case occurred in 
February 1848, in which a party of Bataung carried off some 
five hundred cattle belonging to Sikonyela. Complaint was 
thereupon made to the British resident by the aggrieved 
party, but before Major Warden could communicate with 
Moshesh, that chief had settled the matter by requiring the 
stolen cattle to be sent back to their owner. 

In September of the same year a much more serious 
disturbance took place. A son of Sikonyela drove away the 
people of two Basuto kraals, and set fire to the huts. Upon 
ihis Molapo, Moshesh's son, came down upon the Batlokua 
kraals in the neighbourhood, set fire to them, drove off their 
cattle, and killed two men. The Batlokua made reprisals 

300 History of South Africa. [1848 

on other Basuto, and the area of disturbance was widening 
fast when, by Moshesh's orders, a strong Basuto array, under 
command of Letsie, went to Molapo's assistance. In one of 
the skirmishes that followed, a wife of Sikonyela's brother 
Mota and seventeen Batlokua were killed. Large herds of 
cattle were also seized by the Basuto. 

The British resident invited the contending chiefs to 
meet the land commission which was then engaged in 
settling claims to farms in the Winburg district. Moshesh 
appeared with sixteen hundred warriors at his back, all 
mounted and carrying firearms. Sikonyela had a similar 
escort a thousand strong. With difficulty they were per- 
suaded to agree to a suspension of hostilities for four weeks 
to enable the high commissioner to form a decision, and the 
cause and events of the quarrel were then investigated. 
Sikonyela desired that a boundary line should be fixed 
between him and Moshesh. He asserted that they, the two 
chiefs, had agreed in 1833 that their territories should be 
separated by the Putiatsana and a line drawn from the 
junction of that stream with the Caledon to Lishuane 
mission station. Moshesh objected at first to any boundary, 
but ultimately was induced to consent to one. That his 
people would not observe it was, however, pointed out by 
one of the French missionaries present, who gave it as his 
opinion that a force of live hundred soldiers would be 
required to protect such a boundary. 

A report of the whole proceedings was then sent to the 
high commissioner, who on the 7th of December 1848 gave 
his decision. He confirmed the proposed boundary between 
the two tribes, giving Sikonyela a small tract of land south 
of the Caledon, and adjudged that all cattle seized by either 
party should be restored to their respective owners. 

While the northern border of the Lesuto was in the 
condition just described, events of much greater importance, 
because their effects were to be permanent, were transpiring 
in the south. As soon as it was known that a boundary 
was about to be fixed which would cut off for ever a portion 

1848] The Orange River Sovereignty. 301 

of the territory claimed by Moshesh under the Napier treaty, 
the Basuto became very uneasy. An order issued by the 
civil commissioner of Caledon Eiver, requiring a census to 
be taken, occasioned a slight tumult. The disturbance itself 
was a trivial matter, but it indicated that trouble was in 

A few weeks later, Mr. Southey, who had been entrusted 
by the high commissioner with this duty, requested Moshesh 
to meet him at Smithfield, for the purpose of laying down 
a line between the Europeans and the Basuto. Moshesh 
professed to be unable to travel, owing to sickness, and 
expressed his disinclination to the proposal ; but he requested 
Mr. Bolland, the missionary at Beersheba, to proceed to 
Smithfield with his son Nehemiah and his most trusted 
counsellor to meet Mr. Southey and explain his views. 

Moshesh desired that the country of his people should be 
held by the British government to be that defined by the 
Napier treaty, with the addition of a considerable tract 
beyond. Within those limits, he maintained that the Bantu, 
wherever residing, should be subject to his rule. But as 
regarded the Europeans who had settled on farms in the 
southern portion of this territory, he was willing that they 
should be placed under the jurisdiction of the English 
authorities, and what he understood by a boundary was 
a line beyond which they should not be allowed to 
occupy any land. Under this plan the northern part 
of his country would be reserved entirely for the Basuto, 
and the southern part be inhabited by a mixed population 
of Europeans and Basuto, each nationality under its own 

Sir Harry Smith's intention was that a boundary should 
be drawn between the Europeans and the Basuto wherever 
it could be laid down so as to disturb the smallest 
number of actual occupants on the 3rd of February 1848, 
and that all on one side should be under the govern- 
ment of the English authorities; that on the other side 
what may be termed foreign affairs should be under the 

*o2 History of South Africa. [1848 


control of her Majesty's high commissioner, but domestic 
affairs should be left to the government of Moshesh. 

It would have been impossible to lay down a line that 
would satisfy all the parties interested. In the extensive 
district stretching from the Long mountain to the junction 
of the Caledon and the Orange, which only a few years 
before was almost uninhabited, there had been recently, 
and there was still, a struggle between whites and blacks 
for the possession of land. Europeans from the south and 
Bantu from all sides had been pouring into it, each selecting 
the most fertile spots and immediately thereafter asserting 
the rights of occupation. In some parts they were all 
mixed together, a Bantu kraal in the centre of a group 
of farms or a farm in the centre of a group of kraals. 
Any line whatever must have left Europeans under Moshesh 
and cut black people off from him, unless both were 
required to remove. And none were willing to remove, 
and there was no physical force at hand to compel them to. 
Such were the difficulties under which an attempt was 
made to lay down a boundary between the Europeans and 
the Basuto. 

Mr. Southey proposed a line almost identical with the 
present one between the Orange and the Caledon continued 
to the source of the Modder river, and wrote to Moshesh 
that he should submit it to the high commissioner. He 
promised, however, to request that it should not be 
confirmed until the chief had time to write to his 
Excellency on the subject, if in his opinion it required any 

The line was not confirmed. Mr. Casalis wrote to Sir 
Harry Smith that its adoption would necessitate the removal 
of at least forty villages of Basuto, upon which the 
British resident was instructed to ascertain whether another 
could not be fixed upon that would interfere less with 
actual occupants. In the winter of 1849, Major Warden, 
taking with him a land surveyor, visited Smithfield, where 
he invited Moshesh to meet him, but the chief did not 

1849 J The Orange River Sovereignty. 303 

receive the letter in time. Mr. Rex, the surveyor, was then 
directed to examine the country carefully, and make a map 
of the boundary that would best meet the intentions of the 

It is necessary now to revert to Sikonyela. Two days 
after the conference between the chiefs and the land com- 
mission, the Basuto captain Letsela fell upon a Batlokua 
kraal, killed a Motlokua, and drove off one hundred and forty 
bead of cattle, assigning as a reason for doing so that the old 
award in his favour against Sikonyela had not been complied 
with. For more than a month there was no attempt at 
retaliation, but on the 2nd of January 1849, after the 
announcement of the high commissioner's decision, a Batlokua 
army in three divisions, under Sikonyela himself, his brother 
Mota, and his son David, attacked the kraals of two petty 
Basuto captains, killed twenty-three men, and carried off 
some women and children as well as a large booty in cattle. 

Moshesh then appealed to the British resident. Major 
Warden met Sikonyela, who tried to throw the blame upon 
his adversary, but could not clear himself. He seemed bent 
upon war, and said that nothing but the blood of a daughter 
of Moshesh could atone for the death of Mota's wife. After 
this Major Warden had an interview with the Basuto chief, 
who professed to be most anxious for peace, though he 
asserted that he wanted no help to fight his battles, if the 
British authorities would let him alone to deal with the 

The British resident recommended that the high com- 
missioner's award should be carried out by each party 
bringing to Mekuatling and there delivering to the Bataung 
chief Molitsane all cattle seized. Both chiefs professedly 
consented, but neither did anything else. Sikonyela con- 
tinued his attacks, and Moshesh returned them. Major 
Warden thought it would be difficult to say who was most 
in fault, because, in his opinion, Moshesh should have with- 
drawn his people from the territory of Sikonyela as soon as 
possible after the boundary between them had been 

304 History of South Africa. [1849 

confirmed by the high commissioner, and that he had not 

Next the Batlokua fell upon the Bataung, and then the 
Koranas of Gert Taaibosch and a swarm of vagabonds of 
a similar stamp from the lower Vaal, under Jan Bloem, 
scenting plunder, joined Sikonyela. The cattle of the 
Batlokua were nearly all seized by the Basuto and the 
Bataung, and the confusion was daily becoming greater. 

In June the British resident had a conference with the 
contending chiefs, at which terms of peace were arranged, 
by all parties agreeing to restore their plunder. Moshesh 
kept his promise fairly well, by giving up about twelve 
hundred head of cattle, but Molitsane only surrendered 
three hundred out of four thousand head, and Sikonyela 
delivered nothing. 

The cattle were hardly out of Moshesh's hands when 
Sikonyela, who in the meantime had received further rein- 
forcements of Koranas and had been joined by a few Fingos, 
swooped down upon some Bataung and Basuto kraals, killed 
thirty-four individuals, and drove off the stock. Following 
up his success, he attacked and burned Molitsane's own 
kraal, seized the grain, and turned the women and children 
off in a destitute condition. It was midwinter, and the 
weather was so stormy and bitterly cold that numbers of 
the wretched creatures perished before shelter could be 

The Basuto chief immediately called upon the British 
resident to restore order. Without a strong military force 
no man could have done this, and Major Warden's only 
expedient was to call another meeting of the chiefs. In his 
notice to this effect he guaranteed to them all safe conduct 
to and from the meeting, and promised that any one causing 
a breach of the peace during their absence should be visited 
with certain and most severe punishment. 

A few days later the British resident received a letter 
from the high commissioner, in which Sir Harry Smith 
stated that it was evident Moshesh was acting dishonestly, 

1849] The Orange River Sovereignty, 305 

that he must be humbled, and that a coalition of all the 
other chiefs should be formed against him. Should hostile 
measures be necessary, a body of troops should also be 
employed, and a strong commando of farmers should be 
called out. 

With these instructions — which he had himself suggested 
— as a guide, the British resident presided over a meeting of 
chiefs at Bloemfontein on the 27th of August 1849. Moshesh 
did not attend, but he sent two of his most trusted 
counsellors to represent him, and professed to be willing to 
make concessions to obtain peace. Moroko, Molitsane, Adam 
Kok, and Carolus Baatje were present, but neither Sikonyela 
nor Gert Taaibosch took any notice of the invitation. The 
boundary question was almost the only one discussed. 
Moshesh was blamed for not having withdrawn his people 
from beyond the line fixed by the high commissioner 
between him and Sikonyela, and the coalition which was 
desired was formed. 

On the very day on which the meeting was held at 
Bloemfontein, Sikonyela and Gert Taaibosch fell upon some 
Basuto and Bataung kraals and plundered them; but though 
Moshesh and Molitsane appealed to the British resident to 
keep the promise made in his notice, he did nothing more 
than write to the offenders exhorting them not to break the 
peace again, to which letter they paid not the slightest 

Such was the condition of affairs when Major Warden 
invited Moshesh to meet him at Beersheba and arrange a 
boundary between the Caledon River district and Basutoland. 
The chief was given to understand that if he would comply 
the Batlokua and Koranas would be restrained from further 
aggressions, and he would be regarded as a faithful friend 
of the English government; but if he refused to do so, all 
the petty chiefs in the land, Molitsane only excepted, were 
prepared to join the European forces against him. 

Moshesh did not meet the British resident at Beersheba, 

but he sent his son Letsie and one of his counsellors. 
vol. in. u 

306 History of South Africa, [1849 

Letsie was informed of the boundary decided upon, and was 
asked to give his consent to it. He replied that his consent 
would be like that of a dog dragged by a riem round its 
neck. On behalf of Moshesh he proposed a line from the 
junction of Kornet Spruit with the Orange to the western 
extremity of the Koesberg, the continuation, on account of 
its affecting the Beersheba lands, to be arranged at another 
time ; but the British resident declined to entertain it. 
Letsie conveyed to his father a letter enclosing a sketch 
of the boundary, and informing him that upon his accepting 
it the bands of Batlokua and Koranas would be brought to 

With the consequences of refusal thus brought clearly 
before him, Moshesh affixed his mark to a letter, dated the 
1st of October 1849, agreeing to the proposed limits of the 
Lesuto. He begged that his people on the European side 
should not be driven from their pastures or otherwise ill- 
treated, and pointed out that the kraals cut off from his 
jurisdiction were more than a hundred in number. He 
further requested that boundaries should be made for the 
mission stations Beersheba and Hebron, and that they 
should be connected with the Lesuto by a passage at least 
two miles in width. 

Of the hundred Basuto kraals referred to by Moshesh as 
situated west of the line, most were residences of only one 
or two families. The boundary of Major Warden was 
considerably more to the advantage of the Basuto than the 
proposed one of Mr. Southey, which Mr. Casalis described 
as cutting off at least forty villages. The discrepancy is 
explained partly by the omission of clusters of only two or 
three huts by the missionary, but principally by a recent 
migration of Basuto into the thinly inhabited district below 
the Long mountain. 

The French missionaries, who had been called to witness 
Moshesh's signature, immediately addressed a letter on the 
subject to Sir Harry Smith. In a few words they drew 
attention to the manner in which the chiefs consent was 

1849] The Orange River Sovereignty. 307 

obtained, pointed out an alteration in the line that would 
preserve to the Basuto sixty or seventy kraals now cut off, 
and expressed an opinion that if his Excellency should 
approve of the Warden line, feelings of great discontent 
would remain in the tribe. 

The British resident promised Moshesh that the Basuto 
in the Caledon River district should receive the same pro- 
tection as Europeans, and that they should bold their lands 
in the same manner. He anticipated that within a twelve- 
month most of them would have sold their ground to white 
men, and would have removed to the reserve occupied by 
their tribe. 

Major Warden requested the high commissioner to con- 
firm the line, but though it was approved of before the 31st 
of October, as may be seen in the reply to the French 
missionaries, it was not until the 18th of December that it 
was established by formal notice. It cut off a very large 
part of the Lesuto as defined by the Napier treaty, but 
much of this was never in the occupation of the Basuto 
people. Putting aside that treaty, their claim to the country 
below the Long mountain, or any portion of it, rested on 
exactly the same ground as that of the European inhabi- 
tants : they had found it a waste, and had moved into it. 
Whether the line laid down by Major Warden gave them 
a fair share of that district, or whether it gave to the 
Europeans, or to the Basuto, more than they were strictly 
entitled to, will be decided by every individual according to 
his own ideas of justice. 

As soon as this boundary had been settled, the British 
resident directed his attention to the country occupied by 
the various clans farther north. In October and November 
he laid down lines, defining the reserves allotted to Sikonyela, 
Gert Taaibosch, Molitsane, Carolus Baatje, and Moroko, and 
informed these chiefs that all coloured people living within 
those bounds were thereafter to be subject to their juris- 
diction. Their outer boundaries were the actual lines then 
separating occupied farms from the commonages of kraals. 

3°8 History of South Africa. [1849 

AH the parties interested agreed to them without demur. 
Wherever there were prominent positions, beacons were 
placed, for owing to the circumstances of occupation this 
boundary could not be defined by streams or mountain 
ranges. The district of Thaba Ntshu, where Moroko had 
been living since 1833, was set apart as a reserve for his 
section of the Barolong. On the 18th of December 1849 a 
notice was published by order of the high commissioner, 
confirming the lines thus laid down between the native 
reserves and the portion of the Sovereignty set apart for 
European occupation. 

The system of government henceforth to be carried out 
was explained by Major Warden to be that any chief 
allowing his people to pass the limits of his country to 
the prejudice of another clan would be viewed as a common 
enemy and treated as such. This would have been possible 
if the British resident had been provided with sufficient 
military force, or if there had been some approach to 
equality of strength among the chiefs, or if even the whole 
of the others combined had been as powerful as Moshesh. 
Major Warden certainly thought they were much stronger 
than they subsequently proved to be. He asserted on one 
occasion that he believed eight hundred Koranas to be 
equal to two thousand Basuto, and on another that he 
believed the Koranas of Gert Taaiboseh and Jan Bloem to 
be more than a match for all the Bantu clans, those of 
Moshesh, Molitsane, Sikonyela, and Moroko, together. 

The defect of the system was want of power to enforce 
it. Sir Harry Smith made it a condition of holding a farm 
that every able-bodied man upon it should be liable to 
military service in aid of the queen and her allies, when- 
ever called upon by the British resident or the magistrates. 
But almost to a man the European inhabitants of the 
Sovereignty were opposed to this principle. As far as the 
outer line between themselves and the reserves was con- 
cerned, they were quite willing to protect it. But they 
maintained that it was neither their duty nor their interest 


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l8 5°] The Orange River Sovereignty. 309 

to interfere in quarrels which did not affect them, and as 
her Majesty's allies would be whichever clan was for the 
time being in favour, under such a land tenure they would 
be continually embroiled in war. From them, therefore, no 
hearty assistance could be expected. 

Henceforth the petty clans along the Caledon relied not 
only for protection, but for existence itself, upon the British 
resident, who was without a police or an army of any 
strength. Nothing but the sagacity of Moshesh prevented 
the Basuto from driving them all from the country. 

Outside the reserves there were not many blacks living, 
but wherever they were in actual possession of ground on 
the 3rd of February 1848 their right to it was acknowledged. 
The only difference in their position that Sir Harry Smith's 
measures made was that they were now subject to the 
jurisdiction of European magistrates. It was anticipated, 
and the anticipation was correct, that most of them would 
desire to dispose of their land and remove to the reserves. 
But in order that they might not be unfairly dealt with, it 
was notified that no sales of ground by them would be con- 
sidered legal unless made before the civil commissioner of the 
district in which the land was situated. 

In January 1850 the reverend Dirk van Velden was 
appointed clergyman of Winburg. Ministers for the other 
congregations were not obtainable, and if they had been, 
there were no funds with which to pay their salaries. 
Messrs. Murray and Van Velden were therefore obliged to 
act as consulents for the parishes of Harrismith, Smithfield, 
and Riet River. Each district was now provided with a 

The revenue had not been as large as the high commis- 
sioner had estimated, and the expenditure had been greater. 
On the 10th of September 1850 an account was made out 
by the Sovereignty treasurer, which showed that the 
expenditure to that date for civil purposes alone had been 
in excess of the revenue by £4,905. This amount had been 
drawn as a loan from the treasury of the Cape Colony, but 

31 o History of South Africa. [ l8 5° 

there was no possibility of paying it. The revenue of the 
year 1851 was £6,105 and the expenditure £6,095.* 

On the 10th of June 1850 the first number of a weekly 
newspaper termed the Friend of the Sovereignty was issued 
at Bloemfontein by a branch of the firm of Godlonton and 
White, of Grahamstown. This paper, printed partly in 
Dutch and partly in English, continued in existence until 
recently under the name of the Friend of the Free State. 

The district between the Modder and Vaal rivers had 
been purchased by Mr. D. S. Fourie for the party of which 
he was the head from the Bushman captain David Danser, 
and the right of the purchasers had for eleven years never 
been disputed. In August 1850 Major Warden visited that 
part of the Sovereignty. At Van-Wyk's-Vlei, now Boshof, 
he heard loud complaints from the farmers of robberies by 
a Bushman captain or leader named Kausop, who wandered 
about that part of the country. The major sent for Kausop, 
who made his appearance - with twenty followers. He stated 
that he was of higher rank than Danser, that his ancestors 
exercised authority over Danser' s, and therefore he laid claim 
to the whole district. He was informed that his claim would 
not be admitted, nor existing ownership be disturbed, but 
that as a resident in the country he would be provided 
for. It was ascertained that he had a following of about 
two hundred souls. Major Warden recommended that he 
should be provided with a location along the Vaal. Sir 
Harry Smith approved of this, and Kausop was put in 
possession of a tract of land seventy-two square miles or 
184 square kilometres in extent. 

Adjoining his location on the upper side, a plot of ground 
stretching ten miles back from the river, ten miles above 
Platberg, and ten miles below that mountain, or two 
hundred square miles in extent, had in the preceding year 
been allotted jointly to David Danser and Goliath Yzerbek, 

* By an ordinance of the Cape legislative council in February 1852 the 
sum of £9,684, said to have been advanced to the Sovereignty, was remitted. 
But on examining the item3 which make up that sum, it is seen that several 
were not fairly chargeable to the Sovereignty government. 

1 850 J The Orange River Sovereignty. 311 

the latter a petty Korana captain who had formerly lived 
on the banks of the Riet, and for whose use the land of the 
mission station Bethany had been reserved in the treaty 
between Sir Peregrine Maitland and Adam Kok. Goliath 
had wandered away from Bethany, where he felt uncomfort- 
able on account of being hemmed in by farms. Along the 
lower Vaal he could enjoy a greater sense of freedom, for 
across the river a vast extent of almost waste country 
stretched away to the north-west. But a mistake was made 
in giving him and Danser joint proprietorship in a location, 
for they began to quarrel almost at once. Major Warden 
estimated that between them they had a following of about 
three hundred and fifty families. 

Adjoining Kausop's location on the lower side was a 
reserve allotted to a half-breed named Jan Bloem, who was 
the head of a Korana horde. This reserve was extended in 
February 1852 to the bend of the river where it is joined by 
the Hart. The Berlin mission society had some few years 
previously founded the station of Pniel on the southern bank 
of the Vaal, and these reserves were laid out with a view 
of bringing the Koranas within its influence. This is the 
ground on which eighteen years later the first discovery of 
diamonds in South Africa was made. In 1850 a few farmers 
who had previously been living there made no objection 
to Major Warden's proposal that they should resign their 
land to the Koranas, and receive allotments farther back 
from the river. As for Danser, he was hardly in possession 
of a location when he sold some farms in it, but the British 
resident declared the sales illegal and refused to allow 

The Griqua captain Cornelis Kok of Campbell laid claim 
to some land in this part of the Sovereignty, though he had 
no subjects living on the southern side of the Vaal. His 
right of chieftainship was acknowledged by Sir Harry Smith, 
and on the 1st of May 1848 he was informed that directions 
had been given to Major Warden to have the boundaries 
of his territory properly defined by a land commission. But 

312 History of South Africa. [ l8 5° 

this definition was never made, because the ground which 
he and his people occupied was found to be beyond the 
Sovereignty. His claim on the left bank of the river was 
•then so far admitted that as a proprietor he was allowed to 
sell farms to any one who chose to buy them, but the 
Sovereignty government exercised exclusive jurisdiction over 
all the inhabitants between the Modder and the Vaal, except 
those in the reserves. 

Between the Modder and Orange rivers, the country 
west of Adam Kok's reserve was unoccupied. It was 
claimed by the Griqua captain Andries Waterboer, and 
Cornelis Kok also asserted a right to a portion of it. 
Waterboer's claim rested on his treaty with Sir Benjamin 
D' Urban, in which the little kraal of Ramah was mentioned 
as the extremity of his territory, and this was the south- 
western point of Adam Kok's reserve. Further, Sir Harry 
Smith, without entering into particulars, had said to Water- 
boer that his district and Kok's might join. Still, the 
question was open how far his ground extended north from 
Ramah. Cornelis Kok claimed the angle between the 
Modder river and Adam Kok's line, but Waterboer main- 
tained that the entire district up to the Modder should be 
his. Neither, however, seemed to attach much value to it. 
Major Warden was inclined to treat the whole as waste 
land, seeing that neither of the captains had any use for 
it, that both resided beyond the Vaal, and both had ample 
territory there. And he proceeded to issue certificates for 
several farms in it. But the soil in that part was so 
uninviting that applicants for ground there were very few. 

On the 13th of December 1852 Andries Waterboer died, 
and ten days later the people of Griquatown elected his son 
Nicholas as his successor. On the 18th of the following 
January the councillors of the clan wrote to Lieutenant- 
Governor Darling, requesting that the newly elected captain 
might be recognised by the imperial and colonial governments 
as the lawful chief of Griquatown and the surrounding 
districts, and that he might be admitted to the same alliance 

1850] The Orange River Sovereignty, 3j3 

as was described in the treaty with his father. But the 
day of such alliances was past. The high commissioner caused 
a reply to be sent, recognising the new chief and wishing 
him and his people prosperity ; but stating that the treaty 
with Andries Waterboer was a personal one, and that his 
Excellency did not feel authorised to enter into another. 

On the 25th of March 1851 letters patent were issued at 
Westminster creating a constitution for the Orange River 
Sovereignty. The constitution was sent out by Earl Grey, 
then secretary of state for the colonies, but was never 
promulgated, owing to the condition of the country at the 
time of its arrival. The only effect which it had was to 
prevent the continuation of a legislative council after the 
close of the term of three years for which the first members 
were appointed. In addition to the members of this council 
whose names have already been given, Mr. Henry Halse was 
appointed on the 18th of August 1850, and Messrs. Frederik 
Linde and Andrew Hudson Bain on the 29th of December 

In January 1850 Major Warden called out a commando 
for the purpose of clearing the Caledon River district of 
Bushmen. A party of these marauders had recently pre- 
sented themselves at the homestead of a farmer named Van 
Hansen, and one of them demanded some tobacco. Upon 
the farmer refusing to give it, the Bushmen murdered him, 
his wife, four children, and two servants } and then set 
fire to the house. 

The boundary laid down between this district and the 
Basuto reserve placed Vechtkop, the residence of Moshesh's 
brother Poshuli, on the European side. Poshuli was there- 
fore considered to be under magisterial jurisdiction. He 
was believed to have instigated the Bushmen to commit the 
murders, as he had taken many of these people under his 
protection. Some persons for whose apprehension warrants 
had been issued by the resident magistrate had been 
sheltered by him, and when summoned he had declined to 
appear. Major Warden therefore fined him fifty oxen, 

314 History of South Africa. t l8 5° 

and as he refused to pay, the commando was sent to seize 
his cattle. They were taken without resistance. Among 
them were thirty head which were at once sworn to as 
having been recently stolen from farmers in the district. 
A few others belonged to Mokatshane, father of Moshesh 
and Poshuli, who was then living at Thaba Bosigo. It was 
quite impossible for Major Warden to know who was the 
owner of each ox seized ; all that he could tell with 
certainty was that the cattle were found at the stronghold 
of a notorious robber, who refused to appear when 
summoned, and who was strongly suspected of being impli- 
cated in a coldblooded massacre. An outcry was, however, 
raised by Moshesh, who termed the seizure of his father's 
cattle an unjust and unfriendly act. 

With this exception the early months of 1850 passed 
by without any noteworthy disturbances. Gert Taaibosch 
removed for a time with his horde from the district just 
allotted to him, and resumed the wandering habits of his 
race, so that there was one element of strife the less on the 
Basuto border. 

But the calm did not last long. Sikonyela's people fell 
upon some clans of Bataung and Basuto and plundered 
them, and when the British resident called a meeting of 
chiefs to discuss the matter, the offender declined to attend. 

On the 1st of September 1850 Major Warden received 
the high commissioner's authority to employ the military 
force then at Bloemfontein and to call out a commando of 
farmers and coloured people to punish the Batlokua. The 
order came too late. On the 30th of August the Bataung 
attacked the mission station Umpukani, the people of which 
they believed to be in alliance with Sikonyela, killed twenty 
persons, wounded many more, and swept off the cattle. 

Seventeen days later a combined military, burgher, and 
coloured force moved against Sikonyela, but upon the 
intercession of Moroko and Gert Taaibosch, that chief was 
admitted to an interview with the British resident, and as 
he expressed contrition, he was merely adjudged to pay a 

1850] The Orange River Sovereignty. 315 

fine of three hundred head of cattle at some future day. As 
soon as this was settled, the Batlokua chief joined his forces 
to those of Major Warden, and together they proceeded to 
fall upon Molitsane ajid punish him for violating the sanctity 
of a mission station. At this time so little conception had 
the British resident of the strength of Moshesh that it was 
his intention to attack the Basuto if they should shelter 
MoKtsane's cattle and decline to give them up. 

At daybreak on the morning of the 21st of September the 
Bataung kraals at Mekuatling were attacked. The British 
resident had with him about one hundred soldiers, but only 
thirty-five farmers had answered his call to arms. The 
coloured contingent was composed of Batlokua under 
Sikonyela, Barolong under Moroko, Koranas under Gert 
Taaibosch, half-breeds under Carolus Baatje, and a number 
of Fingos. The Bataung, who were taken by surprise, made 
but slight resistance, and within a few hours about twenty 
individuals were killed on their side, three thousand five 
hundred head of cattle were captured, and a large amount 
of other spoil in sheep, goats, and grain was secured. Ten 
waggons were also taken that belonged to a party of 
Koranas under a petty roving captain named Gert Lynx, 
who was at feud with Gert Taaibosch. The attacking 
party had only three coloured men killed and six wounded. 
A large portion of the spoil was distributed among the 
people of Umpukani and the allies, and the remainder was 
forwarded to Winburg and Bloemfontein to be sold to meet 
the expense of the expedition. 

The commando had hardly left Mekuatling when word 
was brought to the British resident that the Barolong had 
been attacked and plundered. Morakabi, son of Molitsane, 
and Moseme, a petty Basuto captain, together fell upon 
Moroko's outposts, killed several of his people, and swept 
off his herds, consisting of three thousand eight hundred 
head of horned cattle and eight hundred horses. The cattle 
were driven across the Caledon, where they were received 
by Moshesh's people. 

31 6 History of South Africa. [ l8 5° 

This loss having fallen upon Moroko as a direct con- 
sequence of the part he had taken in aiding the British 
resident against Molitsane, Major Warden gave him the 
strongest assurance that the government would support 
him at whatever cost, and called upon Moshesh to restore 
the cattle taken from him. 

A series of negotiations then followed, which show that 
Moshesh personally was desirous of maintaining peace with 
the English government, while his people were ready for 
war and averse to any concessions. The chief of the 
Barolong declined to enter into arrangements with Moshesh, 
and looked to the British resident for protection and 
restitution of all he had lost. 

At length, in March 1851, Moshesh sent some two thousand 
one hundred head of cattle, mostly of an inferior kind, 
which he had collected together, as compensation to Moroko, 
and Major Warden received them on account. Molitsane 
also gave up about four hundred head at the same time. 
These cattle were surrendered three months after the com- 
mencement of the eighth war between the Xosas and the 
Cape Colony, and while the Kaffirs were flushed with 
success, which is strong evidence of the Basuto chief's desire 
for peace. 

In the meantime retaliations and counter retaliations were 
constantly taking place among the contending clans. Other 
events were likewise occurring which tended to make the 
aspect of affairs still darker. 

A small party of Tembus had been living for many years 
in the neighbourhood of the Koesbergen. These people 
were suspected of being in league with their kindred who 
were in alliance with the Xosas and at war with the Cape 
Colony, and as they resisted an attempt to disarm them 
and remove them farther from the border, the British 
resident resolved to expel them. Among others whom he 
summoned to assist him was Poshuli, and this chief, in 
expectation of thereby gaining favour, committed some most 
revolting cruelties, among other barbarous acts murdering 

1850] The Orange River Sovereignty. 317 

in cold blood three headmen whom he had invited to meet 

Some of the Tembus who escaped fled across the Orange 
to the country occupied by the Baputi under Morosi, who 
acknowledged his dependence upon Moshesh, though he was 
not always a very obedient vassal. There was, however, 
strong sympathy between the Baputi and the other branches 
of the Basuto whenever outside pressure was felt by any 
clan of the tribe. 

While Major Warden was attacking the Tembus north of 
the Orange, the civil commissioner of Albert was marching 
with a commando of farmers and Fingos against clans of 
the same tribe on the southern bank of the river. The 
British resident crossed over, joined his forces to this com- 
mando, and then, as Morosi did not appear when summoned, 
a movement was made towards his kraal. The Baputi did 
not wait to be attacked, but fell upon the advance guard 
of the approaching force, and a skirmish followed in which 
nine Europeans were killed before the remainder of the 
commando could come up. 

From this date the Baputi openly joined the enemies of 
the Cape Colony, and a general course of plundering by 
them and the Tembus from the farmers and Fingos com- 
menced on both sides of the river. Moshesh professed to 
be doing his utmost to restore tranquillity, but many of his 
followers openly joined Morosi. 

These events gave the first intimation to the high com- 
missioner that the Basuto chief claimed authority over 
people living south of the Orange. He immediately wrote 
to Moshesh that such authority * would not be recognised, 
and that Morosi being beyond the country of the Basuto 
must be obedient to the colonial law. 

Gert Taaibosch next fell upon Molitsane and drove off 
his herds. The Bataung retaliated upon Moroko, and 
Moseme joined in despoiling the Barolong of the cattle so 
recently given up by Moshesh. Then the British resident 
summoned all the chiefs in the Sovereignty to meet at 

318 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 x 

Bloemfontein on the 4th of June to inquire into the cause 
of the commotions, but without waiting for them to 
assemble he called out a commando of three hundred and 
fifty farmers and two thousand six hundred blacks of 
various clans for the purpose, as he stated, of humbling the 
Basuto and Bataung. 

Moshesh replied to Major Warden's circular calling the 
meeting that the confusion about him would prevent his 
attendance, and attributing the deplorable condition of the 
country entirely to the laying down of boundary lines. On 
the 4th of June only Moroko and Gert Taaibosch appeared, 
and the design of a conference was therefore fruitless. 

The high commissioner sanctioned the project of the 
British resident, and instructed him to attack Moshesh and 
Molitsane if they would not yield to the demands made 
upon them, and to prosecute the war against them until 
they were humbled. He declared that he regarded Moroko 
as the paramount Bantu chief in the Sovereignty, from his 
hereditary descent, his peaceable demeanour, and his attach- 
ment to the British government. From this it is certain 
that at that time neither the high commissioner nor the 
British resident knew much of the history or of the 
strength of the various tribes and clans. 

A difficulty occurred that had not been foreseen. The 
farmers in general declined to take up arms in such a 
quarrel, and instead of three hundred and fifty men who 
were called out, only one hundred and twenty, after much 
trouble, could be induced to take the field. Moshesh sent 
them word that he wished to continue in peace with them, 
and warned them not to aid in war against his people. 
Commandant Snyman and Mr. Josias P. Hoffman, subse- 
quently first president of the Orange Free State, waited 
upon the British resident at Bloemfontein, and endeavoured 
to dissuade him from further interference in these tribal 
quarrels, but to no purpose. 

As ultimately made up, the commando consisted of one 
hundred and sixty-two British soldiers, one hundred and 

i 851] The Orange River Sovereignty. 319 

twenty farmers, and a rabble from one thousand to fifteen 
hundred strong, composed of Fingos, half-breeds of Carolus 
Baatje, Barolong of Moroko, Griquas of Adam Kok, and 
Koranas of Gert Taaibosch and other captains. The whole 
was under command of Major Donovan of the Cape 
mounted rifles. The black contingents were accompanied by 
a large number of women and children. On the 20th of 
June 1851 this commando formed a camp at Platberg. 

The British resident invited Moshesh to meet him, but 
instead of appearing personally, he requested Messrs. Casalis 
and Dyke to represent him. These gentlemen found on 
arrival at the camp that Major Warden would make no 
concessions. On the 25th of June the Basuto chief was 
called upon to pay six thousand head of good cattle and 
three hundred horses, to be delivered at Platberg before the 
4th of July. No communication was held with Molitsane, as 
Major Warden was resolved to fall upon him and expel him 
from the district recently allotted to him. 

Sikonyela, with only a following of a dozen men, had 
accompanied the British resident from Bloemfontein, and as 
it was considered necessary for him to assemble his warriors 
and bring them at once to join the commando, he was 
furnished with an escort of eighty Barolong and Koranas 
and sent to his own country. His road for several miles 
lay through the Basuto reserve, and the French missionaries 
pointed out that his proceeding along it could not fail to 
provoke an attack. On the way he was met by a large 
body of Basuto and Bataung under Moshesh's brother Moperi 
and Molitsane, who drove him to a hill where he defended 
himself bravely for a whole day until rescued by a patrol 
sent to his relief. 

On the 29th a meeting was held of the European leaders, 
the chiefs and captains, and a number of petty Korana 
headmen who were in the camp, when it was decided to 
attack Molitsane next morning at daybreak, 

The principal stronghold of the Bataung was the hill 
Viervoet, the crown of which is a tableland bordered, like 

320 History of South Africa. [1851 

many others in the country, with almost perpendicular 
precipices. Upon this hill Moseme's clan as well as the 
Bataung had placed their cattle for safety when the 
approach of the commando caused them to abandon their 

At daybreak on the morning of Monday the 30th of June 
Major Donovan moved the greater part of his motley force 
against Viervoet. The hill was stormed without difficulty or 
much loss of life on either side, and the cattle were taken 
possession of. The Barolong contingent then commenced to 
plunder the huts and regale themselves on millet beer, 
which they found in large quantities ready made. 

While this was going on, three bodies of Basuto, under 
command of Letsie, Molapo, and Moperi, arrived at Viervoet, 
and the routed clans rallied and joined them. The fortune 
of battle was turned at once. The cattle were retaken. A 
party of Barolong was cut off, and those of them who were 
not destroyed by the assagai and battle-axe were hurled 
over the cliffs. A field-gun was barely saved from capture. 
The loss of the Bantu contingent in killed alone was 
estimated by Major Warden at one hundred and fifty- two 
men, but according to another trustworthy account it must 
have been even higher. It fell principally upon the 
Barolong, and two brothers of Moroko were included in it. 
The number of wounded was also very large. On the 
Basuto side sixteen men at most were killed. 

The commando retreated to Thaba Ntshu, where a camp 
was formed, but a few weeks later it was broken up, and 
what remained of the force fell back upon Bloemfontein. 
The petty chiefs who were opposed to Moshesh were now 
all thrown upon the hands of the government for protection 
and support. Some little bands of Fingos were located on 
the town commonage of Bloemfontein. To others it was 
necessary to serve out rations to prevent them from 
starving. The Barolong were obliged to abandon Thaba 
Ntshu, and nothing better could be done than to permit 
them to take possession of unoccupied ground anywhere in 

1 851] The Orange River Sovereignty. 321 

the district of Bloemi'ontein. The same was the case with 
the half-breeds of Carolus Baatje. All the allies had 
substantial claims for compensation on account of their 
losses, all were clamorous in putting their grievances 

The British resident now found himself without authority 
in the greater part of the Sovereignty. He did his utmost 
to raise a commando of farmers, but was unsuccessful. He 
then applied to the government of Natal for assistance, and 
Mr. Pine, who was then lieutenant-governor of that province, 
promptly sent to his aid two companies of the 45th 
regiment of infantry, comprising one hundred and seventy- 
two men of all ranks, seventeen Cape mounted riflemen, 
and five hundred and ninety blacks, the whole under 
command of Captain Parish of the 45th. Sir Harry Smith 
issued instructions to act only on the defensive until such 
time as troops could be spared from the eastern colonial 
frontier, when he would bring up a force sufficiently strong 
to restore British authority. Major Warden therefore 
garrisoned the village of Winburg with the troops from 
Natal, and stationed the Bantu contingent with Moroko to 
protect his people. 

In the meantime the Basuto had taken possession of the 
districts previously occupied by the Barolong, the Koranas, 
and the half-breeds, and had seized the greater portion of 
the stock belonging to those clans. Moshesh asserted that 
he was not an enemy of the queen of England, but at the 
same time his followers attacked those farmers who were 
attached to the English government and who had obeyed the 
call to arms. These were searched out in the Harrismith, 
Winburg, Bloemfontein, and Caledon River districts, and 
were despoiled of whatever the Basuto raiders could lay 
their hands upon. Among them were two men whose 
names will frequently appear again in this narrative — Jan I. 
J. Fick and Cornells de Villiers. 

When intelligence of these events reached England, 

military reinforcements were promptly sent out to enable 
vol. in, x 

322 History of South Africa. L l8 5 x 

Sir Harry Smith to restore British authority north of the 
Orange, if that could not be effected in any other way than 
by force of arms. But Earl Grey had no intention of bur- 
dening the imperial treasury with the permanent charge of 
maintaining a large garrison in the Sovereignty, and the 
same despatch which announced that troops would be sent 
to restore British prestige indicated that unless the majority 
of the inhabitants would willingly obey and actively support 
the resident, English rule over the country would be with- 

At this time the war with the rebel Hottentots, Tembus, 
and Xosas was taxing all the energies of Sir Harry Smith 
and trying the patience of the secretary of state. Hostilities 
with the Basuto tribe beyond the Orange were therefore felt 
as a grievous addition to other troubles. 

The republican party in the Sovereignty looked upon 
this as a favourable opportunity to assert their indepen- 
dence of England. On the 25th of August a document was 
signed at Winburg by one hundred and thirty-seven men, 
requesting Mr. A. W. Pretorius to take upon himself the 
office of administrator-general. As soon as this became 
known, numbers of farmers in other parts of the country 
declared their adhesion to the cause. Moshesh, who was 
well informed of what was taking place in British KafTraria, 
and who knew that the Kaffirs had been so far successful 
there, probably regarded the English cause as now the 
weaker one, and in the same manner as he acted on every 
similar occasion throughout his life, he went over to what 
he believed to be the stronger party. This Moshesh, the 
chief who talked so much in later years of his constant 
devotion to the queen, joined in the invitation to Mr. 
Pretorius to come and restore peace to a ruined country. 

A deputation of farmers, acting independently of Major 
Warden, though not concealing their transactions from him, 
proceeded to Thaba Bosigo, and concluded peace with 
Moshesh. The farmers undertook not to interfere in any 
tribal quarrels, and only to take up arms against those who 

1851] The Orange River Sovereignty, 323 

should violate the boundary between whites and blacks. 
Moshesh undertook to make no war with them unless they 
should cross the boundary, to cause all thieving to cease, 
and to deliver up stolen cattle. To this effect an agree- 
ment was drawn up and signed on the 3rd of September by 
Moshesh and his sons Molapo, Masupha, and Nehemiah on the 
one part, and by the delegates G. F. Linde and Jan Vermaak 
on the other. This agreement was faithfully observed on 
both sides. The farmers who ignored the British resident 
were left unmolested, or if their cattle were driven off 
by mistake, they were immediately restored. Those who 
adhered to the English government, on the other hand, were 
sought out and plundered everywhere throughout the eastern 
part of the Sovereignty. It was surely the most humiliating 
position that a British administration in any part of the 
world has ever been in, and let it be remembered that this 
wretched state of things was the result of that mistaken 
philanthropic policy which had built up the Basuto power, 
a power infinitely greater than was even then suspected. 

At this time, by order of the secretary of state, two 
officers with a knowledge of South African affairs were 
selected, and with the title of assistant commissioners 
were sent to the territory north of the Orange to endeavour 
to put matters right there, but without that strong military 
force which alone could have restored order. 



On their arrival at Bloemfontein on the 27th of November 
1851 the assistant commissioners Hogg and Owen found 
those farmers who ignored the British resident's authority, 
and who were in alliance with Moshesh, living in a con- 
dition of peace, but all other sections of the inhabitants were 
engaged in strife. 

The Natal blacks had recently been removed to Sikonyela's 
district, but the danger of employing a force of this kind, 
unless in concert with a more powerful body of Europeans, 
had become very apparent. They had broken free of control, 
and were almost as formidable to their friends as to their 
enemies. Seeking plunder wherever it was to be obtained, 
their chief object seemed to be to return to their homes as 
soon as they could collect a drove of cattle. It was believed 
to be almost as dangerous to attempt to disband them as it 
was to keep them under arms, but they fortunately relieved 
the government of the difficulty by general desertion. 

The troops from Natal were stationed at Thaba Ntshu, 
to which place Moroko's people had returned. But as the 
loyal farmers of Winburg were being constant^ plundered 
by bands of Basuto and Bataung, and were in less favour- 
able circumstances than the Barolong for defence, this force 
was sent to their assistance. Moroko was consequently left 
to his own resources. 

The half-breeds and Fingos, whose families were rationed 
by the government, were actively engaged in worrying the 
people of Moshesh. They were provided with ammunition 


1852] The Orange River Sovereignty. 325 

by Major Warden, and in little bands they descended upon 
exposed parts of the Lesuto and were gone with their 
plunder before the inhabitants could get together to resist 
them. As this conduct provoked retaliation, the assistant 
commissioners prohibited the further supply of ammunition 
to these people and discontinued the issue of rations to 

An inquiry into the financial condition of the country 
occupied some little time. It was ascertained that the 
revenue was barely sufficient for the maintenance of the 
civil establishment, and that a police force was out of the 
question. No offices had been created besides those already 
mentioned, excepting that of registrar of deeds. This 
situation was held by Mr. Joseph Allison, who was also 
clerk to the British resident and secretary to the legislative 
council. No reductions in the limited civil establishment 
were possible. The revenue officers were called upon to 
account for the balances shown by their books to be in their 
possession, when Mr. C. U. Stuart, civil commissioner of 
Bloemfontein, was found to have misapplied public money. 
He was therefore dismissed, and Mr. Hector Lowen was 
appointed to succeed him. 

The legislative council met on the 30th of December. 
On the 1st of January 1852 the assistant commissioners 
requested the members to take the following questions into 
careful consideration and report upon them : — 

1. As to future relations with native tribes, whether it 
would not be advisable that they should be allowed to settle 
their own disputes. Should they request the advice or 
arbitration of the resident or the council, might that not be 
conceded without undertaking any responsibility ? 

2. As to what would, in their opinion, improve the con- 
stitution of the Sovereignty, so as to give them more 
management of their own affairs, and ensure, in case any 
evils should accrue from that management, that they 
themselves should be responsible for them, and nut the 
government ? 

326 History of South Africa. [i 8 5 2 

3. As the country for many years must be infested by 
wandering natives, what system of internal arrangement 
would the council recommend to be carried out, with as 
little severity as might be consistent with safety to life and 
property ? 

The council took these questions into consideration, and 
brought up a report, prefacing it with a statement that it 
was grounded on a firm reliance that her Majesty's govern- 
ment would indemnify all who had adhered to it and suffered 
in consequence, to the full extent of their losses. 

On the first question they were of opinion that as soon as 
British honour had been vindicated and peace restored to the 
country, the queen's supremacy over the native tribes should 
be withdrawn. But if that were not satisfactorily done, they 
should consider her Majesty's faithful subjects and allies in 
the Sovereignty a deeply injured people. 

On the second question they desired that the Sovereignty 
should be annexed to the Cape Colony, their interests being 
identical and inseparable. 

On the third question they considered it unnecessary to 
make any other remark than that they were content to 
throw in their lot with the Cape Colony under the new 
constitution which was then graciously offered by her 
Majesty to that dependency of the empire. 

While this matter was being considered, the assistant 
commissioners entered into correspondence with Commandant- 
General Andries Pretorius, who was then residing at 
Magalisberg, and arrangements were made with him and his 
colleagues, which ended by the signing of the Sand Kiver 
convention on the 17th of January 1852, under the terms of 
which the farmers north of the Yaal were acknowledged to 
be an independent people. Those who were disaffected towards 
the British government in the Sovereignty were then reduced 
to a comparatively helpless position. They accused Mr. 
Pretorius of having betrayed them, by agreeing with her 
Majesty's government to terms in which they were not included. 
He replied that he could do nothing for them unless they 

1852" 1 The Orange River Sovereignty. 327 

chose to move across the Vaal, but there they would be 
welcomed and would have ground assigned to them. Many 
therefore crossed the river. Thus by successive migrations 
after the battle of Boomplaats and now after the Sand River 
convention, the Sovereignty was freed of the most violent 
antagonists of British rule, and a marked difference was there- 
after discernible between the opinions and the conduct of 
the people north and south of the Vaal river. The assistant 
commissioners inflicted fines upon all who remained who 
could be proved to have ignored British authority, and by 
this means raised a sum of rather over £2,000. 

It was at this time by no means certain whether the 
Sovereignty would be retained as a British dependency, or 
be given up. On the 21st of October 1851 Earl Grey had 
written to Sir Harry Smith that "its ultimate abandon- 
ment should be a settled point in the imperial policy." The 
assistant commissioners, however, were convinced that 
British authority could not be withdrawn without breaking 
faith with many people, both white and black, and they 
were doing their utmost to put things in such order that 
the secretary of state might be induced to reverse his 

Immediately after the Sand River convention was signed 
they made an attempt to open up negotiations with Moshesh. 
They invited him and Molitsane to meet them at Winburg 
on the 22nd of January, but both the chiefs made excuses 
for not appearing. Moshesh expressed himself desirous of 
a meeting, but submitted several reasons why he could not 
go to Winburg, and requested that the conference might take 
place at Mekuatling or Lishuane. The commissioners would 
not agree to this, lest they should seem at the outset to be 
willing to make any concessions demanded of them ; but 
they postponed the meeting to the 30th, in order to give 
Moshesh time to consult his sub-chiefs, as he stated he wished 
to do. He and Molitsane still declined to appear in person, 
though they sent messengers with long and carefully 
drawn-up statements of all the important events that had 

328 History of South Africa. [1852 

occurred in connection with their tribes during the preceding 
twenty years. 

At length, however, Moshesh named as delegates his brother 
Moperi and his sons Molapo and Masupha, and a formal 
meeting was held at Winburg on the 7th of February. 
Molitsane appeared in person, and with him were his son 
Moiketsi and his nephew David Raliye. The reverend Mr. 
Daumas acted as interpreter. A lengthy discussion took 
place, at the close of which the commissioners stated the 
terms on which peace would be made. These were embodied 
in a document, which was signed by all the delegates on the 
10th of February. In this agreement the Basuto and Bataung 
chiefs undertook to restore the balance of the plunder in 
their hands. The number of cattle to be given up was not, 
however, stated. 

Immediately after the meeting Major Hogg went to Thaba 
Bosigo with the object of inducing Moshesh to fulfil the 
promises made by his delegates on his behalf. In an inter- 
view with the chief on the 12th he stated that after a 
thorough investigation of all that had taken place, he was 
of opinion that the grievances complained of by the Basuto 
were well founded, and he was therefore prepared to redress 
them. Moshesh expressed himself highly pleased with this 
admission, and on the 15th he and his son Letsie affixed their 
marks to the Winburg agreement. 

On the 22nd of February Major Hogg met Moshesh again, 
at Bolokwane, near the Orange river, There were many 
Basuto present at this conference, which was held purposely 
to let all the people know the arrangements proposed by the 
commissioner and agreed to by the chief. Briefly stated, the 
offer made by Major Hogg was : to dismiss Major Warden, 
the British resident ; to place Captain Bailie of the Fingo 
levies under arrest, to cause a thorough investigation into his 
conduct to be made, and to restore to their relatives certain 
Tembu children disposed of by him and Poshuli ; to consider 
the boundary line between the Lesuto and the Caledon 
River district, as laid down by Major Warden and confirmed 

*$5 2 ] The Orange River Sovereignty. 329 

by Sir Harry Smith, to be no longer binding ; to consider and 
treat the petty chiefs Poshuli and Morosi in future as subjects 
of Moshesh ; to do away with all the boundaries proclaimed 
between the petty clans and the Basuto, retaining only the 
outer line as a division between Europeans and blacks ; and, 
finally, to interfere no more in purely native quarrels, but to 
leave the contending parties to settle their own disputes. In 
return for ail these concessions, Major Hogg merely asked 
that the Winburg agreement should be carried out, and that 
a new line between the Basuto and the Europeans in the 
Caledon River district should be made and respected by the 
chief and his people. 

Moshesh declared that he was perfectly satisfied, but 
whatever his own feelings were, the Basuto tribe was not 
disposed to make the slightest sacrifice in order to restore 
tranquillity to the country. All accepted the concessions of 
the assistant commissioner as a matter of course, but none 
were willing to surrender the captured cattle or to make 
compensation from their own herds. And Moshesh certainly 
had no means of compelling them to do so, for his authority 
rested entirely upon public opinion. 

Of all the chiefs known to us at that time he was the 
one who could least afford to disregard the inclinations of 
his subjects. Every other prominent Bantu ruler, both 
along the coast and in the interior, governed by hereditary 
right, but Moshesh had little claim on that ground. His 
own father was still living, representatives of elder branches 
of his family were numerous. Like all the paramount 
chiefs of Bantu tribes, he was merely the head of a number 
of clans, each with very large .powers of self-government. 
Every one of his sub-chiefs expected to be consulted on 
all matters of importance, and if his advice was neglected, 
gave no assistance to his superior. Such a position, always 
a weak one, was made doubly so in Moshesh's case by his 
filling it merely because the different sections of the tribe 
accepted him as their head. In agreement with them he 
was strong, in opposition to them he was powerless. 

33 o History of South Africa. L l8 5 2 

To carry out the Winburg agreement to the satisfaction 
of the assistant commissioners, it would have been necessary 
for Moshesh and Molitsane to give up several thousand head 
of cattle, together with at least a thousand horses, instead 
of which the two chiefs only sent in between them about 
two hundred cattle and a hundred and twenty horses, and 
these the most wretched animals in the country. 

Still Moshesh continued to profess the strongest desire 
for peace and friendship with all men, and particularly 
with the British government. Mr. Owen wrote to him that 
he would not make any alteration in the boundary until 
the farmers' losses were compensated in full, and Moshesh 
then proposed that the farmers should go into his country, 
without giving any one but himself notice, and identify 
their cattle. The commissioner would not agree to this 
proposal, as he feared it would lead to disturbances, and it 
was also evident that the cattle were closely guarded in 
places difficult of access. 

After this no further effort was made on either side 
towards the restoration of the stolen stock. On the 9th 
of June 1852 Major Hogg died suddenly in Bloemfontein, 
and Advocate J. W. Ebden, his successor as assistant 
commissioner, was not appointed until the 22nd of 
September. Mr. Owen, who during this period was left to 
act by himself, considered it useless as well as humiliating 
to correspond longer on the subject with the Basuto chief, 
in whose professions he put not the slightest confidence, 
and who he was convinced could not be induced to give 
up the booty without force. 

During this time thefts continued, though occasional 
spasmodic efforts were made by Moshesh to suppress them. 
On one occasion he restored sixtv stolen horses to their 
owner, and punished one of the thieves with death. But 
constant vigilance was not displayed to prevent such acts, 
and robbers generally were left unscathed. 

Sikonyela, who had never ceased his plundering forays, 
now drew upon himself the vengeance of his enemies. In 

l8 5 2 J The Orange River Sovereignty. 331 

May 1852 the district occupied by the Batlokua was over- 
run by a Basuto army under Moshesh in person, some fifty 
warriors were killed, immense herds of cattle were seized, 
and large quantities of grain were carried away or destroyed. 
Sikonyela, who had but one stronghold left, was compelled 
to sue for peace. Moshesh was not unwilling to try to 
convert his old enemy into an obedient vassal, and granted 
him terms which under the circumstances were exceedingly 

Shortly after this the half-breeds of Carol us Baatje, 
having obtained a supply of ammunition from Major 
Warden, made a sudden raid into Molitsane's district and 
swept off three thousand head of horned cattle and two 
hundred and eighty horses, with which booty they got 
safely away. The issue of ammunition to these raiders was 
nearly the last act of Major Warden as British resident. 
It was in direct antagonism to the principles which actuated 
the imperial authorities at the time, and would have made 
his retirement necessary even if instructions had not already 
been received from England concerning his removal. On 
the 23rd of July he was succeeded by Mr. Henry Green, 
previously an officer in the commissariat department. An 
executive council was at the same time appointed. It con- 
sisted of the British resident as presiding officer and five 
members named by the high commissioner. 

The raid by the Platberg half-breeds was avenged by the 
Basuto upon the Barolong. A strong force under Masupha 
fell upon Moroko's cattle posts and carried off a large booty. 

At this stage Mr. Owen abandoned all hope of restoring 
order. In a report to the high commissioner he expressed 
an opinion that the Sovereignty could not be maintained 
with dignity without the presence of a considerable armed 
force, and unless this expense was incurred it should be 

Shortly after the assumption by Sir George Cathcart of 
the duties of high commissioner, he requested Mr. Owen to 
convene a meeting of representatives to ascertain the opinion 

332 History of South Africa. [1852 

of the European inhabitants on the question whether Great 
Britain held the country with their concurrence or not. In 
every ward representatives were elected on the principle of 
manhood suffrage, and on the 21st of June they met in 
Bloemfontein. There were seventy-nine members present. 
They chose Dr. A. J. Fraser as chairman, and during three 
days deliberated on the important matters submitted to them. 
The conclusion which they arrived at was in favour of the 
retention of British authority. 

The three years having expired for which the members 
of the legislative council had been appointed, they desired 
that a legislative assembly, chiefly elective and composed of 
one member for each fieldcornetcy and seat of magistracy, 
with an additional member for Bloemfontein, should be 
established in its stead. The only non-elective members 
they thought should be the civil commissioners, to whom 
they proposed to give deliberative power, but not votes. 
They desired that a recorder's court should be substituted 
for the court of combined magistrates. 

An important question laid before the assembly by Mr. 
Owen was "whether the inhabitants of the Sovereignty 
would be willing to place themselves under a commando law 
to punish the aggressions of her Majesty's enemies, provided 
the policy of non-interference in the disputes of the native 
tribes were strictly adhered to, and with the proviso that 
the burghers should not be called out in any case except 
with the consent of the council ? " 

Sixty-nine votes were given in the affirmative, but with 
conditions attached. Thirty-five were in favour of it "pro- 
vided the government would assist them with a sufficient 
number of troops." Thirty-four were in favour of it "pro- 
vided the existing disputes with Moshesh were first settled, 
and that five hundred soldiers were permanently stationed 
in the Sovereignty." 

A few members, representing the party which termed 
itself the philanthropists, maintained that it was the duty of 
Great Britain and of the European colonists to prevent 

1852] The Orange River Sovereignty. 333 

intertribal wars. The Sovereignty government, they admitted, 
had broken down in trying to keep peace among the clans 
along the Caledon, but that was because the mother country 
\ had not provided more soldiers and the farmers had not 
turned out in force to aid Major Warden. The consequence 
of non-interference, they asserted, would be the frequent 
precipitation of bands of fugitives upon the Europeans. It 
could never be supposed that a Christian community would 
attempt to force men, much less women and children, fleeing 
for their lives, to keep within a fixed boundary, without 
restraining their enemies. The system advocated by some, 
of receiving such fugitives, giving them small locations, 
imposing upon them a labour tax, and taking possession of 
the ground from which they had been driven, would never 
be allowed by England. Non-interference was thus not 
possible in practice. 

This line of argument was that adopted of recent years 
by the missionaries with the weaker clans, but one searches 
in vain in the writings of those among the powerful tribes 
for similar views and expressions. It is observable also 
that some of those who, ten years earlier, were the advocates 
of the formation of great Bantu and Griqua states, were now 
the firmest upholders of the duty of Europeans to protect the 
weak clans against the strong. 

During the session of the assembly Commandant- General 
Pretorius visited Bloemfontein, where he was received by 
the government with every mark of honour. At Mr. Owen's 
request he delivered an address to the representatives of the 
people, in which he counselled moderation and straightfor- 
wardness in all they did, but made no attempt to influence 
their decisions in any way. 

It was now agreed by every one that nothing but 
physical force would bring the Basuto to terms. General 
Cathcart therefore resolved to visit the Sovereignty at the 
head of a strong body of troops, for the purpose of 
restoring British prestige. Having established a condition 
of apparent tranquillity and contentment on the eastern 

334 History of South Africa, [1S52 

colonial frontier, he prepared to carry out this project in 
the last months of 1852. 

In November of this year a splendidly equipped force, 
consisting of nearly two thousand infantry and five hundred 
cavalry, with two field-guns, marched by way of Burghers- 
dorp to the banks of the Caledon. The governor hoped that 
the mere presence of such a body of troops would enable 
him to settle everything to his satisfaction, without the 
necessity of having recourse to hostilities. In a message to 
Moshesh, he informed that chief that upon himself would 
depend whether he should be treated as an enemy or not. 
And in a proclamation which he issued before he left the 
colony he announced that he was not going to make war, 
but to settle all disputes and establish the blessings of peace. 

The army crossed the Orange without any difficulty, as 
the river was low, and then marched along the Caledon. 
On the 2nd of December General Cathcart sent forward 
summonses to Moshesh, Molitsane, Sikonyela, Moroko, and 
Gert Taaibosch, to meet him at Platberg on the 13th, and 
at the same time he appointed a commission to examine 
into and report upon the number of cattle stolen and the 
question of the retention or alteration of Major Warden's 
boundary line. The assistant commissioners Owen and 
Ebden, and Mr. Green, the British resident, after devoting 
six days to the consideration of these matters, delivered a 
report, in which they estimated the losses sustained through 
the depredations of the Basuto and Bataung at £25,000, and 
recommended that a demand should be made upon Moshesh 
for ten thousand head of full-grown cattle and fifteen 
hundred horses as compensation. They further advised 
that the chief should be required to surrender iive hundred 
stand of arms as a token of submission and desire for peace, 
and that the boundary line of Major Warden should not be 

On the morning of the 13th the army arrived at Platberg, 
and encamped at the Wesleyan mission station, which was 
found deserted by every one except the reverend Mr. Giddy. 

1852] The Orange River Sovereignty. 335 

Not one of the chiefs was there to meet the governor. 
Sikonyela sent an excuse that he dared not come, through 
fear of Moshesh. The Caledon being in flood, the Basuto 
chief could not attend had he wished to do so. In the 
evening two of his sons swam over, and they remained in 
the camp that night, but the governor declined to admit 
them to an interview. On the 14th Mr. Owen returned 
with Moshesh's sons to Thaba Bosigo, carrying a letter 
from General Cathcart declaring that the time of talking 
was past, and demanding the delivery of ten thousand head 
of cattle and one thousand horses within three days, under 
penalty of being attacked. 

Besides this, Moshesh was called upon, under penalty 
of the destruction of his tribe at some future time, to 
comply with the following requirements of the governor : — 

1. The restoration to Sikonyela of the cattle taken from 
nim, and peace with that chief. 

2. The restoration of Platberg to the people of Carolus 

3. Observance of the boundaries fixed by Sir Harry 

4. Peace with all the neighbouring peoples, and the 
cessation on the part of the Basuto of being a nation of 

On the 15th Moshesh visited the camp, and a conference 
took place between him and the governor, in presence of 
the principal officers attending the English general. Among 
these were the assistant commissioners Owen and Ebden, 
a brother of Lord John Russell acting as aide-de-camp, and 
the colonels Eyre, Cloete, and Bruce. Messrs. Casalis and 
Dyke accompanied the chief, the former of whom acted as 
interpreter. General Cathcart was unwilling to abate his 
demands. The chief, as usual, dwelt upon the blessings of 
peace, and stated that he had not power to collect as many 
cattle as were required in so short a time. He informed 
the governor in figurative language that an advance into the 
country would be resisted, as a dog when beaten will show 

336 History of South Africa. [1852 

his teeth. He promised, however, to do his best to meet 
the demand made upon him, but all that he obtained by his 
visit to the governor was an extension of time by one day. 

The Basuto as a tribe preferred a trial of strength to the 
surrender of so many cattle and horses. They could have 
collected three times the number in twenty-four hours had 
tbey been so disposed, but there were few among them 
willing to purchase peace at so high a price. Moshesh 
personally was in favour of yielding, for he dreaded a con- 
test with the English general as the greatest of misfortunes. 
It might cause the dismemberment of his tribe, it certainly 
would bring loss to himself. And therefore he did all that 
was possible under the circumstances, with the result that 
on the 18th his son Nehemiah was able to deliver at the 
camp three thousand five hundred head of cattle. Moshesh, 
it may be, thought that these would be received as sufficient 
for the present, and that the balance would be allowed to 
stand over. 

On the 17th General Cathcart sent a small supply of 
ammunition to Sikonyela, with a message that he would 
expect assistance from him in the event of hostilities with 
the Basuto. But he was unwilling to complicate matters 
by employing any other Bantu forces, and he issued positive 
orders to Moroko to take no part in the war. Of the cattle 
brought in by Nehemiah, he gave a thousand head to 
Moroko, two hundred and fifty to Carolus Baatje, and two 
hundred and fifty to Gert Taaibosch, sending those chiefs 
with the whole herd to Bloemfontein, and thus getting 
them out of the way. 

On Sunday, the 19th, as no more cattle had arrived, 
General Cathcart issued orders for his cavalry and a brigade 
of infantry to march to the ford of the Caledon opposite 
the mission station of Berea, and encamp there. In the 
evening of this day, Moperi, brother of Moshesh, and the 
reverend Mr. Maitin waited upon the governor, by whom 
they were politely received. Moperi assured General 
Cathcart that Moshesh was doing everything in his power 

l8 5 2 ] The Orange River Sovereignty. 337 

to collect the cattle required, and entreated him to suspend 
hostilities a little longer. He and the missionary left with 
the impression that their desire might possibly be acceded 
to ; but they must have mistaken the governor's reply, for 
that night the final orders to advance were issued. 

At daybreak on the morning of Monday the 20th of 
December 1852, the British forces, leaving the camp pro- 
tected by a strong guard, crossed the Caledon at the ford 
which has ever since been known as Cathcart's drift. 
Between them and Thaba Bosigo lay the Berea mountain, a 
long, irregular, table-topped mass of rock with precipitous 
sides. The mountain was seen to be covered with thousands 
of cattle. The troops were formed in three divisions, the 
plan of action being that one of these should march over 
the mountain, and one on each side, so as to secure the 
herds, and then to meet in front of the great chief's residence. 

The cavalry brigade was composed of men of the 12th 
lancers and Cape mounted rifles, and was about two hundred 
and fifty strong. It was under command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Napier. This division was ordered to march round 
the northern base of the Berea, but it had not proceeded far 
when it was tempted by the sight of the cattle to ascend the 
hill. Officers and men alike held the Basuto military power 
in the lightest esteem, and regarded the march as a pleasant 
excursion in which they were likely to get a good quantity 
of spoil without any hard blows. And the morning was 
well advanced before they were undeceived, for they met 
no opposition until they were in possession of a large herd 
of cattle. 

Up to this time the only -Basuto encountered were a 
multitude of terror-stricken women and children fleeing 
with such of their household goods as they could hastily 
lay hands upon. But hardly had the cattle been turned to 
be driven down the hill towards the drift, when a force of 
about seven hundred Basuto and Bataung horsemen under 
Molapo and the sons of Molitsane, that had hitherto been 
unobserved, made a sudden charge upon the scattered troops. 


33 8 History of South Africa. [1852 

All would have been lost but for the coolness and bravery of 
Colonel Napier, who collected a little band about him and 
tried to keep the enemy at bay until the stragglers could 
rally or escape. The cattle were rushing down the mountain., 
and lancers and riflemen were following them. One small 
party mistook a ravine behind the mission station for the 
path by which they had ascended, and found themselves 
surrounded by enemies when they reached the bottom. 

The little band under the gallant colonel kept the main 
Basuto force at a respectful distance, but detached parties of 
light horsemen pursued the retreating troops. Twenty-seven 
lancers and five riflemen were cut off. Several were killed 
close to the mission station. Fortunately, intelligence of the 
disaster was conveyed in time to the camp, and a company 
of the 74th highlanders was sent to Colonel Napier's assist- 
ance, which enabled him to fall back without further loss. 
He reached the camp with a herd of four thousand head of 
horned cattle, besides a few horses and some sheep and goats. 
Only four Basuto fell in this engagement, though when he 
prepared his report the colonel was under an impression that 
a large number had been killed. 

Another of the three divisions was under command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Eyre. It consisted of two hundred and 
seventy-one men of the 73rd regiment, one hundred and two 
of the 43rd, ninety of the rifle brigade, thirteen artillerymen, 
twelve Cape mounted riflemen, and eleven of the 12th 
lancers, in all four hundred and ninety-nine rank and file, 
besides a few mounted Fingos to be employed as cattle 
herds. This division was under orders to march along the 
flat top of the Berea, driving the cattle before it, and 
effecting a junction with the other brigades before Thaba 

On reaching the mountain where the path he had selected 
winds up it, Colonel Eyre found a Basuto force threatening 
to prevent his advance. The position occupied by the enemy 
was a strong one, but it was found possible to send detach- 
ments up in other places to turn it, so that the troops 

1852] The Orange River Sovereignty. 339 

reached the summit with very little loss. On the plateau 
they found some thirty thousand head of cattle, of which 
they took possession, but these immense herds were un- 
manageable, and much time was lost in vainly endeavouring 
to drive them onward. While the troops were thus engaged, 
Molapo's horsemen suddenly dashed upon them. The fore- 
most men of the enemy were dressed in the uniforms of the 
lancers whom they had killed a couple of hours earlier, and 
carried their weapons, so that the soldiers mistook them for 
friends till they were close by. They cut off two or three 
men, and took Captain Faunce, an officer of the 73rd, 

All the cattle, except a herd of about fifteen hundred, 
were now abandoned, the brigade was called together and 
got into fighting order, and the onward march was resumed. 
But it was no longer the pleasant excursion that the soldiers 
had called it in the morning. The Basuto and Bataung 
under Molapo, seven or eight hundred strong, mounted on 
hardy ponies, and elated with their recent 1 success, charged 
upon the detachment wherever the ground favoured them. 
The form and order of a body of disciplined troops were 
such, however, as to enable them easily to keep light 
cavalry at a distance, and about five o'clock in the after- 
noon Colonel Eyre effected a junction with the third 
division. The loss on the English side was five men killed 
and one officer made prisoner ; of the Basuto eleven warriors 
were killed. 

The remaining division was under command of General 
Cathcart in person. When it left the camp it consisted of 
rather less than three hundred -men, composed of a detach- 
ment of the 12th lancers, a detachment of Cape mounted 
riflemen, two companies of the 43rd, and some artillerymen 
with two field-pieces ; but a little later in the day it was 
strengthened by another company of the 43rd, drawn from 
Colonel Eyre's brigade. It moved along the western and 
southern base of the Berea, and met with no molestation 
beyond an occasional shot fired from a distance, until about 

340 History of South Africa. [1852 

two o'clock, when it halted near the mission station of 
Thaba Bosigo. Here the three columns should have formed 
a junctioD, but one of them had already fallen back to the 
camp, and another was still miles away endeavouring to 
secure cattle. 

At Thaba Bosigo a force of six thousand horsemen had 
assembled, all well armed with European weapons. They 
were not, however, trained to act in concert, and were 
consequently at an enormous disadvantage in a pitched 
battle with European troops. They approached in dense 
masses, but few of them came within rilie range. The most 
daring body was led by Nehemiah, whose horse was shot 
under him. Very heavy firing was kept up on both sides 
for more than two hours, with hardly any result. Yet it 
was a terrible position that General Cathcart's little band 
was in. So vastly outnumbered was it that only bravery 
and discipline prevented Isandlwana being anticipated by a 
generation in South Africa. 

About half past four in the afternoon a thunderstorm, 
such as at that season of the year is of frequent occurrence 
in the Lesuto, burst over Thaba Bosigo ; and while it lasted 
the firing ceased. But as soon as the sun came out again, 
the dense masses of Basuto horsemen were seen advancing 
in greater strength and more perfect order than before. 
Just at this critical moment, however, Colonel Eyre's column 
made its appearance, and speedily effected a junction with 
the commander-in-chief. 

As night was falling, General Cathcart took up a position 
at an abandoned kraal among rocks where it would be 
difficult to attack him. The enemy followed, still keeping 
up a heavy fire from a distance, and it was not until eight 
o'clock that the rattle of musketry ceased. 

In this engagement the casualties on the Eugiish side 
were two officers — one of whom was a nephew of the duke 
of Wellington — and six privates wounded, making the whole 
day's losses thirty-seven killed and fifteen wounded. The 
Basuto loss in warriors was twenty killed and the same 

l8 5 2 ] The Orange River Sovereignty . 341 

number wounded. But this was not the whole, for a good 
many of their women were killed and wounded by our troops 
in the earty part of the day. It is not the custom of these 
people to place their women in safety before an engagement, 
and it has often been found impossible to avoid killing them. 
On this occasion many of them fell under the fire of the 
artillery, Whether the others were mistaken for men, or 
whether they were shot down indiscriminately by soldiers 
of the divisions under Colonel Napier and Colonel Eyre 
when not under their officers' eyes, will never be positively 
known. General Cathcart believed the last supposition to 
be the correct one, and expressed his deep regret on account 
of it. Captain Faunce, who was made prisoner by Molapo's 
horsemen, was murdered in revenge by relatives of some of 
the women killed, and his body was afterwards horribly 

At daybreak on the morning of the 21st the general left 
the kraal where he had passed the night, and began his 
march back to the camp on the Caledon. A strong Basuto 
force marched in a parallel line along the top of the Berea 
to observe his movements, but did not attempt to molest 

The night after the battle was one of anxiety for Moshesh 
as well as for General Cathcart. The troops had fallen 
back, and the dead soldiers were lying unburied where they 
fell, but Moshesh was wise enough to see that his army was 
not a match for even that little band which was bivouacked 
not far away, still less then for the enormous reserves that 
he knew the governor could bring against him. The cool 
determined stand of the British infantry against the over- 
whelming forces that threatened them had made a deep 
impression upon the Basuto. They had not expected to see 
an unbroken line of fire and steel, but a rabble of dismayed 
fugitives entirely at their mercy. Already Moshesh heard 
his people talk of abandoning the open country, betaking 
themselves with their belongings to the most inaccessible 
mountains, and there acting on the defensive only. 

342 History of South Africa. [ l8 5 2 

At midnight the chief sent two of his attendants for Mr. 
Casalis. Under the eye of the missionary — in his account of 
these events he does not say to his dictation, but that may 
be inferred — Nehemiah wrote in his father's name the most 
politic document that has ever been penned in South Africa. 
It is impossible to condense it or to paraphrase its terse 
expressions without marring its effect. 

"Thaba Bosigo, Midnight, 
"20th December, 1852. 
"Your Excellency, — This day you have fought against 
my people, and taken much cattle. As the object for which 
you have come is to have a compensation for boers, I beg 
you will be satisfied with what you have taken. I entreat 
peace from you, — you have shown your power, you have 
chastised, — let it be enough, I pray you ; and let me be no 
longer considered an enemy to the queen. I will try all I 
can to keep my people in order in the future. 

"Your humble servant, 

" Moshesh." 

It was some time before a messenger could be found who 
would venture near the English sentries, and when at length 
one left Thaba Bosigo with a flag of truce, General Cathcart 
was already retiring to his camp on the Caledon. The 
messenger followed and delivered the letter. 

The English general, on his part, was not less anxious 
for peace than was Moshesh. He too had been deceived in 
the strength of the enemy, and he dreaded a war with a 
tribe so highly organised, so well armed, and with such 
strong natural fortresses. In his opinion there was nothing 
to be gained by such a war that could be placed in the 
balance against its difficulties and its cost. And so he 
eagerly availed himself of the opening for escape from a 
grave difficulty which Moshesh's letter afforded. It gave 
him the privilege of using the language of a conqueror, and 
in such language he declared that he was satisfied with the 
number of cattle captured, that he considered past 

l8 5 2 ] The Orange River Sovereignty. 343 

obligations fulfilled, and that he would send the army 
away and go back to the colony in a few days. 

There was murmuring in the camp when this was 
known, for the fiery spirited among the officers and men 
were eager to avenge their fallen comrades and retrieve the 
check they had sustained. Colonel Eyre begged hard to 
be allowed to plant an ensign on Thaba Bosigo, or to perish 
in the attempt. Other officers spoke bitterly of the disgrace 
of retreating and leaving the people of the Sovereignty to 
their fate, after making demands upon Moshesh which were 
not complied with. Mr. Owen delivered a written protest 
in strong words against the cessation of hostilities under 
such circumstances. General Cathcart, however, was 
determined not to involve the empire in an expensive 
war, and so he proclaimed peace with the Basuto. 

On the 24th Mr. Owen paid a visit to Moshesh at Thaba 
Bosigo. The chief received him with civility and respect, 
and expressed his joy that he was no longer regarded as an 
enemy of the queen. He directed his sons Nehemiah and 
Masupha with a party of men to accompany Mr. Owen and 
the reverend Messrs. Casalis and Dyke over the battlefield, 
where the bodies of the slain soldiers were sought for, and 
such as could be found were decently interred. 

Three days after the conclusion of peace the camp was 
broken up, and the army began its return march down the 
Caledon. A garrison of three hundred men in all, infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery, was left to protect the Queen's fort in 
Bloemfontein. The Europeans in the Sovereignty were 
empowered to organise for their own defence in case the 
Basuto should attempt to overrun the country, and they 
were then left to take care of themselves as best they could. 
Before the end of the month the army had reached the 
Orange on its way back to the colony. 

The consternation among the whites and those blacks 
who had aided the government was extreme. There was a 
great outcry about the disgrace to the empire of such a pro- 
ceeding, but General Cathcart shut his ears to it all. Then 

344 History of South Afri&a. [1852 

followed petitions, signed even by men of such tried attach- 
ment to the English government as Mr. J. I. J. Fick, 
begging for military protection, or that the inhabitants 
might be left without interference of any kind to settle 
matters and to defend themselves in their own way. The 
latter of these alternatives was what the imperial authorities 
were about to comply with, for as soon as the news of Berea 
reached England, the duke of Newcastle wrote to the high 
commissioner that "her Majesty's government had decided 
to withdraw from the Orange River Sovereignty." In Sir 
George Cath cart's despatches he described the encounter as 
a victory and his proclamation of peace as a satisfactory 
settlement, but the secretary of state was not deceived. 

Yet it would be unjust to accuse the English minister of 
heartlessly leaving a few white people to the mercy of an 
opponent as strong as Moshesh, without looking at the 
question from his point of view also. In England it was 
generally believed that the war with the Basuto had been 
undertaken on behalf of the European settlers, and it was 
remembered that little more than four years had elapsed 
since a strong force had been moved to the Sovereignty to 
establish the queen's authority over the farmers. The 
opinion was freely expressed that they had got themselves 
into a mess, and ought to be left to get out of it as best they 
could, without expense to the British taxpayer. That the 
war had been undertaken by the representatives of the 
imperial authorities in opposition to the desire of the entire 
white population of the territory, a few missionaries and 
sympathisers with their views only excepted, was unknown 
in England. To conquer the Basuto would require many 
men and much treasure. The nation would be unwilling 
to bear the charge. The few English in the Sovereignty 
could be bought out. The farmers could return to the 
Cape Colony or go over the Vaal, if they could not take 
care of themselves. And so the ministry came to the con- 
clusion that the best thing: to do was to withdraw from the 


l8 5 2 ] The Orange River Sovereignty. 345 

Immediately after the battle Moshesh sent messengers 
to the chiefs of the tribes far and near, to inform them that 
he had gained a great victory and had driven the English 
forces from his country. This version of what had taken 
place was universally credited, for it seemed to be verified 
by General Cathcart's speedy return to the colony. The 
reputation for power of the Basuto and their chief was from 
this date greatly enhanced among the neighbouring tribes, 
though it was believed that their success was due less to 
prowess than to some magic substance employed against the 
white men. 

Moshesh next requested the missionaries to appoint a day 
of thanksgiving to God for the restoration of peace, and 
required his people to observe it in a devout manner. But 
before the services were held, all who had been present at 
Berea observed the ancient ceremony of standing in battle 
array in a stream into which their priests threw charms to 
prevent the ghosts of those they had killed working evil upon 
them. Thus, too, they believed that they pacified the shades 
of their ancestors, for these would be wroth if the ancient 
customs were not observed. 

Moshesh, notwithstanding his patronage of the missionaries, 
had really lost none of his faith in the religion of the Bantu, 
and was as fearful of offending the mighty dead as the most 
ignorant of his followers could have been. He always main- 
tained to his people that he was a favourite with the 
spirits of their ancestors, and under their special guidance. 
There was a long period of his life when the missionaries 
believed that his vigorous mind rejected the Bantu belief 
in witchcraft and charms, and that "he merely professed before 
his subjects to be a conservative in these matters, from 
diplomatic views. He was at this time fond of quoting 
passages from the bible, of the historical portions of which 
he had acquired a very considerable knowledge. Like all 
other individuals of the Bantu race in South Africa, he had 
no difficulty in reconciling a belief in the existence of one 
supreme God with the existence of protecting ancestral 

346 History of South Africa. [1853 

shades, but this great deity was to him a being who acted 
pretty much as mortals do, only with illimitable power. In 
his old age Moshesh was completely under the influence of 
Bantu priests, and as he at no time discarded them, it is not 
likely that he was ever troubled with feelings of scepticism. 
He showed himself to every one in the most advantageous 
light : to General Cathcart as a vanquished man begging 
for peace and friendship, to his fellow-chiefs in other parts 
of South Africa as a conqueror who had delivered his 
country from an invader, to the missionaries as a hopeful 
pupil, and to his people as a strict observer of their national 

Towards his neighbours in the Sovereignty he acted with 
greater moderation than might have been expected. The 
farmers on his border were subjected to many petty annoy- 
ances, but they were not driven from their homes, nor for 
many months were their herds molested. The Barolong 
under Moroko were permitted to retain possession of Thaba 
Ntshu, and were left undisturbed except by occasional 
thefts of cattle. The half-breeds were treated with equal 
consideration. Across the Orange, Morosi was restrained 
from plundering the people of Albert, who had suffered 
unceasingly from his depredations ever since the engagement 
at Viervoet. 

This politic conduct of Moshesh and his people enabled 
the governor to affirm in his despatches that matters were 
in a satisfactory condition. Moroko rejected the small 
subsidv offered to him, and claimed restitution of all he had 
lost ; Carolus Baatje acted in a similar manner ; the farmers 
who had obeyed Major Warden's call to arms spoke sullenly 
and bitterly of the consequences of their loyalty ; while 
General Cathcart was writing that all claims upon the British 
government had been sufficiently compensated and all wrongs 
had been redressed, that unless the colonists were the 
aggressors he anticipated such a degree of securit}' and peace 
as had not been experienced since the establishment of her 
Majesty's rule in the Sovereignty. 

l8 53] The Orange River Sovereignty. 347 

Henceforth no interference was attempted by the govern- 
ment in matters solely affecting: the coloured clans. Advice, 
indeed, was freely tendered to the different chiefs, but little 
or no notice was taken of it. They were left to arrange 
their relationship to each other as they chose, or as best they 
were able. The farmers were recommended to submit 
patiently to annoyances that could not be checked. 

A few weeks after the battle of Berea the Korana captain 
Gert Taaibosch returned to the Lesuto border, bringing 
with him in addition to his own followers a party of 
vagrants whom he had collected beyond the Vaal. These 
vagabonds were all well mounted, and being expert cattle- 
lifters, their neighbourhood necessarily became a scene of 
disorder. Sikonyela, who was still brooding with all the 
bitterness of wounded pride over his defeat and humiliation 
by Moshesh in the preceding winter, at once joined his 
forces to those of Taaibosch, and together they commenced 
a series of raids upon the nearest Bataung and Basuto 

Moshesh contented himself with remonstrances and 
appeals to his enemies to keep the peace. He was en- 
deavouring to form a coalition of all the clans in and 
around the Lesuto under his own leadership, and was there- 
fore doing whatever he could to prevent them wasting their 
strength against each other. But the views of Taaibosch 
and Sikonyela were too limited and their repugnance to 
control of any kind was too great to allow of their entering 
into such a plan. 

It will be remembered that when the Bataung chief 
Makwana sold the country between the Vet and Vaal rivers 
to the farmers, he reserved for his people a location at the 
head of Coalspruit. There he had died, and there his son 
and successor Tulu with his people had ever since been 

Tulu was too weak to cause uneasiness to any one, and 
was living in fancied securitj' when, in April 1853, he was 
attacked without warning by Sikonyela and Taaibosch, 


48 History of South Africa. [1853 

aided by a few renegade whites. Tne Bataung could make 
no resistance. They were despoiled of everything they 
possessed, and were obliged to abandon the location and 
take refuge with their kinsmen under Molitsane at 

The marauders next made a raid upon a chief named 
Witsi, who occupied the tract of country still known as 
Witsi's Hoek, on the Natal border, north of the Lesuto. 
This chief and his people at an earlier date formed part 
of a coast tribe that had been dispersed in the convulsions 
caused by Tshaka, a,nd they had only been living a short 
time on the inland side of the mountains. The district in 
which they resided, indeed, had been given out in farms by 
the Sovereignty government, but the European occupants 
had been obliged, to withdraw from it. The people of Witsi 
bore an evil reputation among their neighbours, European 
and coloured. The chief was not a vassal of Moshesh, 
though living in friendship with him and to some extent 
under his influence. The Korana and Batlokua raiders 
seized a large herd of cattle, but were pursued by the 
people they had plundered, who retook their stock and 
drove off the robbers. 



On the 6th of April 1853 a commission under the great seal 
was issued to Sir George Russell Clerk, appointing him 
"special commissioner for the settling and adjustment of the 
affairs of the Orange River Sovereignty," in other words, 
he was sent out to withdraw British authority with the 
best grace possible. He arrived at Bloemfontein on the 8th 
of August. 

Notwithstanding the efforts made by Adam Kok to keep 
the Griqua reserve intact, the village of Fauresmith — then 
generally called Sannah's Poort — had been founded early in 
1850 on ground leased from a Griqua, and the district around 
it was practically as much in the European part of the 
Sovereignty as that around Bloemfontein. On the 29th of 
January 1850 Sir Harry Smith issued a proclamation that 
the farmers must withdraw from the inalienable Griqua 
territory on the expiration of their leases, but these had 
some thirty years yet to run. Many of the Griquas were 
desirous of selling their ground, and there was a strong 
party among them headed by Hendrik Hendriks, once 
secretary to the Griqua council, in opposition to Adam Kok 
on this very point. They maintained that it was unjust to 
prevent them from selling their farms when large prices 
were being offered, and thus in defiance of the prohibition 
land was constantly changing hands. This was one of the 
difficulties awaiting solution. 

There had been a considerable increase in the European 
population of the Sovereignty during late years, its numbers 
being now about fifteen thousand ; and there had been a 


350 History of South Africa. I l8 53 

change in its constituents. In the five villages, particularly 
in Bloernfontein and Smithfield, many English traders and I 
mechanics had settled. There were one hundred and thirty- 1 
nine Englishmen owning farms in the Sovereignty, but some 
of them were absentees. The British resident himself was I 
the largest landowner in the country, and several other 
officials were in possession of enormous tracts of ground. 
According to a return compiled for the special commissioner, 
these hundred and thirty-nine Englishmen were the pro- 
prietors of two hundred and sixty-four farms, comprising 
two million four hundred and sixty-seven thousand seven 
hundred and sixty-four acres of land, so that as a body they 
were not free from the reproach which Sir George Clerk cast 
upon them of being mere speculators. A considerable number 
of individuals belonging to old colonial families had come 
in, while of the former residents many of the extreme 
anti-English party had moved over the Vaal. 

The total number of farms for which certificates or titles 
had been issued was one thousand two hundred and sixty- 
five, and the extent of ground thus alienated was estimated 
at eleven millions of acres. The different reserves for 
coloured people covered about thirteen millions of acres, and 
it was supposed — for no survey had been made — that about 
eight millions of acres remained unappropriated. 

The country at the time was really in a state of anarchy, 
though in Sir George Cathcart's despatches it was constantly 
represented that tranquillity and order had been restored. 
Under such circumstances the position of the special com- 
missioner was most humiliating. Representing the imperial 
government, professing friendship for all with whom he 
came in contact, he saw his advice unheeded and his 
authority set at nought. Armed bands of blacks traversed 
the country as they pleased ; a son of Molitsane made a 
raid upon some Fingos who had taken refuge at Winburg, 
and there was no way of punishing him; the Koranas, 
Batlokua, Bataung, and others plundered and destroyed 
whenever and wherever their inclinations led them. That 

l8 53] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 351 

matters were not even worse was solely owing to the cir- 
cumstance that a severe drought had destroyed the pasturage, 
so that it was difficult for mounted men to move about. 

On the 9th of August 1853 a notice was issued by the 
British resident, under instructions from the special com- 
missioner, calling upon the inhabitants of the Sovereignty to 
elect delegates for the purpose of determining upon a form 
of self-government. On the 5th of September the delegates 
met at Bloemfontein. They were ninety-five in number, 
seventy-six of them being Dutch South Africans, and nine- 
teen Englishmen. In an address which he made at the 
opening of the session, Sir George Clerk informed them that 
"he had the instructions of her Majesty's government to 
direct them to prepare themselves for undertaking the 
government of the territory whenever British jurisdiction 
should be withdrawn." 

Dr. Fraser was elected chairman by sixty votes against 
thirty-five divided among four others, and the deliberations 
commenced. It was at once evident that the delegates were 
not inclined to do as they were desired. On the 8th they 
appointed a committee of twenty-five to confer with the 
special commissioner, so that the others might return to 
their homes and only meet again to settle matters finally. 
By a vote passed without opposition they gave the com- 
mittee instructions not to entertain any proposals for the 
formation of an independent government until the following 
matters should have been adjusted by her Majesty's special 
commissioner to their entire satisfaction : — 

1. The settlement of the Griqualand question. 

2. The adjustment of the boundary line between the 
Basuto territory and the Sovereignty (that is the line 
between the Orange and the Caledon). 

3. The question of the interference of the British govern- 
ment between coloured people and the European inhabitants 
of the country. 

4. A guarantee that the allies of the British government 
or persons from beyond the Vaal river should not molest 

352 History of South Africa. [1853 

the inhabitants of the Sovereignty, more particularly in 
regard to confiscated farms. 

5. Compensation for those who might find it necessary to 
leave the country and those who had sustained losses by 
war or otherwise. 

6. The share justly belonging to the Sovereignty of the 
customs dues received at the ports of the Cape Colony and 
Natal, or the cession of a port in either of those colonies. 

7. The complete or conditional absolution of the 
inhabitants from allegiance to the British crown. 

8. The settlement of all disputes regarding boundaries of 
farms as yet undecided by the several land commissions. 

9. The cancellation of all existing treaties with chiefs. 

10. Permission to the future government to purchase 
munitions of war of all kinds in England or the British 
colonies, and a guarantee that no obstacle should be thrown 
in the way by the colonial governments to prevent such 
munitions of war from reaching the Orange River territory. 

11. The refunding of all fines unlawfully imposed upon 
inhabitants of the Sovereignty, and the restoration of, or 
payment for, all farms unlawfully confiscated. 

Some correspondence with Sir George Clerk followed, and 
the committee then separated. It met again on the 10th 
of November, when it decided upon the adoption of a con- 
stitution the same as that approved of by the delegates 
in June in the preceding year, but under her Majesty's 

Sir George Clerk announced that as they were unwilling 
to take steps for the formation of an independent govern- 
ment, he would enter into negotiations with other persons. 
And then was seen the strange spectacle of an English com- 
missioner of high rank and courteous demeanour addressing 
men who wished to be free of British control as the friendly 
and well-disposed inhabitants, while for those who desired 
to remain British subjects and who claimed that protection 
to which they believed themselves entitled, he had no 
sympathising word. In the change of phraseology which 

1853] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 353 

took place with the change of policy, they had now become 
" the obstructionists." 

At this stage Commandant Adriaan Stander, who had 
recently been living at the Marikwa, visited the Sovereignty, 
and rallied the republican party around him. Several of 
the elected delegates seceded, professing that they had only 
voted for the retention of the British government out of 
fear that the special commissioner's invitation was a device 
to entrap and then fine them. In a very short time 
addresses with nine hundred and fifty-nine names attached 
to them were presented to Sir George Clerk, offering to 
meet the wishes of the imperial government on the following 
conditions : — 

1. The release of the inhabitants from her Majesty's 

2. The arrangement of matters concerning Griqualand. 

3. The invalidation of all existing treaties with the sur- 
rounding tribes, and the non-interference of the British 
government between the burghers and the coloured people. 

4. Compensation for confiscated farms and for fines 
unlawfully levied. 

5. Permission to purchase munitions of war in England 
and all British colonies, and assurance that the same should 
be allowed to pass unhindered through the Cape Colony or 
Natal, as well as that a free passage should be allowed for 
all goods through those colonies to the territory. 

The elected committee thereupon requested Dr. Fraser 
and the reverend Mr. Murray to proceed without delay to 
England, to lay their case before the imperial parliament, 
and to protest against the people of the Sovereignty being 
abandoned under the circumstances of the country. 

As if to accentuate their despairing cry, just at this 
juncture Moshesh, in opposition to the advice and wishes 
of Sir George Clerk, crossed the Caledon at the head of a 
great army, and fell suddenly upon Sikonyela's stronghold. 
That chief was at the moment unprepared for defence, as 
he was not expecting to be attacked, and had only a few 


354 History of South Africa, [1853 

warriors with him. His mountain fastness, though hitherto 
considered impregnable, was far from being such a formi- 
dable stronghold as Thaba Bosigo. There was but one 
narrow and steep path leading to its summit, but it was 
found possible to scale some of the precipices in the rear. 
The Basuto army attacked it in three divisions. While one 
division, under Masupha, stormed up the footpath, the 
others, under Moshesh and Letsie, scaled the precipices at 
different points, the warriors climbing over each other's 

On the tableland above, in a heavy storm of rain, a battle 
was fought which ended in complete victory for the Basuto. 
Sikonyela lost his eldest son Makitikiti and the bravest of 
his guard. Gert Taaibosch and the leading members of his 
band also fell in the engagement. The Batlokua chief, 
when all was lost, managed to conceal himself, and he lay 
in hiding for several days, while Moshesh remained on the 
mountain. During this time the Basuto scoured the district 
and seized the cattle, waggons, and everything else of value 
belonging to the Batlokua and Taaibosch's Koranas. When 
at length they left, Sikonyela crept from his hiding place, 
and with only sixty warriors at his back fled to Winburg. 

As a man of note, the name of the once formidable 
Batlokua chief will henceforth disappear. The son of the 
terrible Ma Ntatisi was now struck down never more to rise 
to power. Sir George Clerk sent him to Bloemfontein, 
where he was provided with rations for himself and a 
few followers until the abandonment of the Sovereignty. 
Moshesh frequently invited him to return to his old resi- 
dence, but his haughty spirit would not allow him to become 
a retainer of his ancient enemy. When he left Bloemfontein 
after a stay there of some months, it was to retire to 
the present district of Herschel, where he remained in 
obscurity until his death on the 20th of July 1856. His 
second son, Lehana by name, then became regent of that 
portion of the tribe which retired to Herschel, and con- 
tinued to act as such during the minority of Ledingwana, 

1853] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 355 

son of Makitikiti. This section of the Batlokua is now in 
Griqualand East. 

Mota, brother of Sikonyela, with those members of the 
tribe who did not choose to follow their fallen chief, sub- 
mitted to Moshesh for a time, and then moved away to the 
district of Harrismith, where they were permitted to live 
on three farms belonging to Mr. C. J. de Villiers until 
1867 when they finally migrated to Zululand, Their terri- 
tory was divided among several Basuto clans, Molapo and 
Molitsane obtaining the best portions of it. This event, 
which to the European inhabitants was another proof of 
Moshesh's power and their danger, to Sir George Glerk was 
only an incentive to get away quickly. 

In December he had a meeting at Jammerberg Drift with 
the Basuto chief and his eldest son Letsie. The farmers 
along the Warden line between the Gale don and the Orange 
had been invited to be present, and a good many of them 
attended. The special commissioner requested them and 
the chiefs to arrange another boundary, but said that he 
desired to be merely a witness of their proceedings. 
Moshesh replied that he thought the Orange river would be 
a good dividing line. After this there oould be very little 
discussion, and nothing more was ever attempted by the 
special commissioner in this matter. 

In the Cape Colony the announcement that the Sovereignty 
was about to be abandoned was received with great dis- 
satisfaction. From all the important centres of popula- 
tion, petitions, numerously signed, were addressed to the 
queen, earnestly beseeching her Majesty to retain the 
country. One was from the presbytery of Swellendam, 
representing the Dutch reformed congregations of Swellendam, 
Caledon, George, Kiversdale, Bredasdorp, Mossel Bay, Napier, 
Knysna, and Ladismith. 

Very imprudently, some of these petitions were drawn up 
with a view to secure the cooperation of those well-meaning 
persons in England whose sympathies are easily roused on 
behalf of coloured races. In these, grotesque and frightful 

356 History of South Africa. [ l8 53 

pictures were drawn of the injuries inflicted by the farmers 
of the South African Republic upon the missionaries and 
black people there, and it was predicted that if the people 
of the Sovereignty were left to themselves they would 
behave in a similar manner. These petitions were made 
public through the colonial press, and tended very greatly 
to strengthen the republican party. There was a general 
cry of indignation from the farmers on both sides of the 
Vaal, coupled with a challenge for an impartial investigation 
of the events alluded to, and an expressed desire to be freed 
from all connection with persons who so " defiled " them. 
From the date of the publication of these documents a 
majority of the inhabitants of the territory were in favour 
of self-government, and the committee which had been 
elected no longer represented the people. 

Sir George Clerk had made himself acquainted with the 
recent transactions bevond the Vaal, and knew how distorted 
the assertions of ill-treatment of the blacks by the emigrant 
farmers really were. The British and foreign anti-slavery 
society, the aborigines protection society, the London 
missionary society, the Wesleyan missionary society, and 
the peace society, without any hesitation or scruple accepted 
as correct the version of occurrences sent home by the 
missionaries, and besought the duke of Newcastle to inter- 
fere. The members of these great societies do not seem to 
have reflected that though they had an undoubted right to 
ask for the very closest investigation that could be made, 
ordinary justice demanded that the charges should be proved 
before they were entitled to condemn the farmers as they 
did. The secretary of state probably viewed the matter in 
this light, for his instructions to Sir George Clerk to remon- 
strate with the Transvaal authorities were conveyed in very 
weak language. 

The special commissioner, however, apart from positive 
instructions, felt it his duty to look closely into this matter. 
One of the first documents put into his hands after his arrival 
in the Sovereignty was a memorial from certain missionaries, 

1853] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 357 

and if the views expressed in it were well founded, he con- 
sidered that the imperial government ought to be made 
acquainted with the facts. This memorial had its origin in a 
missionary meeting held at the reverend Holloway Helmore's 
station Likatlong, at the junction of the Hart and Vaal rivers, 
on the 11th of July 1853. The reverend Robert Moffat, of 
Kuruman, presided at the conference. The missionaries 
who took part were those of the London society labouring 
with the Griquas at Griquatown and Philippolis and with 
the Batlapin at Kuruman, Taung, and Likatlong ; of the 
Paris society labouring at Motito ; and of the Berlin society 
labouring with the Koranas at Pniel and Bethany. Among 
them were some men of undoubted ability, the tenor of whose 
lives commanded the respect of all well-thinking persons, 
and whose opinions were entitled to be taken into the most 
careful consideration. 

They resolved "that a memorial be drawn up touching 
upon the state and prospects of the Transvaal natives and 
the missions established among them, and that a deputation 
consisting of the reverend Messrs. Moffat, Inglis, and 
Solomon be appointed to wait upon Sir George Russell Clerk, 
her Majesty's special commissioner, to present the memorial 
to him." 

In this document the missionaries expressed their satis- 
faction at the appointment of a commissioner to investigate 
matters. They complained of the conduct of the farmers 
towards the blacks and of the destruction of five missionary 
stations, four of the London society's and one Wesleyan. 
They stated it to be their "firm conviction that the attacks 
were unprovoked on the part of the natives, and could be 
traced to no other sources than the love of plunder, the lust 
of power, and the desire of obtaining constrained and unpaid 
labour on the part of the boers." They spoke of the banish- 
ment of the reverend Messrs. Edwards and Inglis " on the 
most flimsy pretexts," and the destruction or sacrifice of much 
missionary property. They stated that "the whole system 
pursued by the boers towards the tribes under their control 

358 History of South Africa. [1853 

was reducing them all to a state of servitude which could 
not be distinguished from slavery." They complained of 
the permission given by the convention to the farmers to 
purchase munitions of war, while these were withheld from 
the blacks. They " could not too earnestly deprecate the 
abandonment by her Majesty's government of the Orange 
River Sovereignty," and they feared a general war resulting 
from a combination of the blacks against the emigrant 

Shortly after the receipt of this memorial by Sir George 
Clerk, Commandant Scholtz visited Bloemfontein. The 
special commissioner caused the document to be trans- 
lated into Dutch, and requested him to reply to the charges 
made in it. On the 6th of September the commandant 
delivered his statement to Mr. Owen. 

He expressed " astonishment and regret that such un- 
founded assertions could be brought forward." He knew 
of no mission station destroyed by the farmers, but he was 
aware that the reverend Mr. Ludorf had abandoned his 
charge, that the reverend Messrs. Inglis and Edwards had 
been expelled from the republic, and that the tribe with 
which the reverend Dr. Livingstone had been labouring had 
been defeated in an engagement brought on by themselves. 

He denied that any blacks had been wantonly attacked, 
or that any tribe whatever had been assailed for the sake 
of plunder. The people with whom the farmers had been 
righting were living on ground taken by the emigrants from 
Moselekatse, they were subjects of the emigrant government, 
and were required to perform service instead of paying taxes ; 
there were also many persons apprenticed to individual 
farmers, but there were no slaves held by the emigrants. 
Every facility would be granted if the British government 
chose to send a commission of inquiry to find out the 

As for the case of the reverend Messrs. Inglis and 
Edwards, he referred to the records of their trial. He had 
heard that Mr. Edwards' station had been plundered by a 

18531 Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 359 

party of Griqua hunters and by a band of deserters from 
her Majesty's army. The farmers had nothing to do with it. 
From Dr. Livingstone's station he himself had brought 
away two immense firelocks and a gunsmith's outfit, but he 
considered that he was justitied in doing so. He was not 
aware of any combination of black people against the 
emigrant farmers, nor was he apprehensive of any, "should 
the missionaries not excite them against his countrymen." 
And lastly, the conduct of the missionaries had been the 
cause of a great deal of mischief, and their interference in 
matters outside of their proper sphere of labour would no 
longer be permitted in the republic. 

Here were two conflicting statements based on the same 
facts. Further inquiry brought to light that much of the 
difference between them arose from the various interpreta- 
tions given to the word slavery. 

(a) Was a clan which agreed with the republican govern- 
ment to contribute a stated amount of labour yearly, in 
return for the use of ground on which to live, in a condition 
of slavery ? 

(b) Certain farmers had leased ground to individual blacks 
in consideration of receiving the service of their families 
at times when work was pressing. The system undoubtedly 
was a pernicious one, for tenants of this kind lived as a 
rule by plundering their landlords' neighbours. But that was 
not the question. It was, are such tenants in a condition 
of slavery? 

(c) Blacks wandering about in idleness, with no visible 
means of subsistence and not able to give a satisfactory 
account of themselves, destitute persons, orphan children, 
and sometimes children taken as were those from the 
Bakwena and afterwards unclaimed, were apprenticed to 
farmers for a term of years, without their consent being 
required. They received wages, and, with hardly an excep- 
tion, were well cared for, though they were never regarded 
as the social equals of their employers, the feeling towards 
them being identical with that of an English squire towards 

360 History of South Africa. [ l8 53 

his dependents in olden times. Were they in a condition 
of bondage ? 

The missionaries declared all these to be in a state of 
servitude indistinguishable from slavery. The farmers 
denied this, and asked whether white people in England 
under the same circumstances were not termed free. 

It was ascertained that there were in very truth numer- 
ous individuals along the western border of the republic in 
a condition of slavery, in the sense that their persons and 
everything they acquired were throughout life entirely at the 
disposal of others. These people were the Balala. They 
were the remnants of tribes broken by war in former years, 
and their owners were the same Betshuana who, according 
to the missionaries, were being oppressed by the farmers. 
The tendency of things under the emigrant government was 
to free the Balala from bondage, by giving them rights in 
property and control over their families and their persons, 
though without allowing them to become vagrants. This, 
at any rate, was something to weigh against the strict 
treatment to which the other blacks were subject, though 
the missionaries had not taken it into consideration. 

There were instances of real oppression of blacks by 
white men, but they were by no means numerous. One 
would not be justified in terming the farmers a race of 
oppressors on account of them any more than in terming 
the inhabitants of London a race of pilferers on account of 
the pickpockets in that city. These instance* of oppression 
were made possible by the feebleness of the republican 
government, and the way to prevent them would be to 
strengthen that government. The missionaries, with the 
most upright intentions, were really advocating the destruc- 
tion of all authority. The emigrant government could not 
exist if the tribes living on its soil were independent of its 
control, those tribes could not have been there at all if it 
had not been for the conquest of the Matabele by the 
farmers, and it did not seem unreasonable, therefore, that 
they should be required to pay a moderate tribute 

* 85 4 J Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 361 

As for the differences of opinion between the emigrants 
and the missionaries, it was to be regretted that they did 
not all think alike ; but the existence of those differences 
would not warrant the British government in incurring the 
responsibility of keeping possession of distant and useless 
territory. If the missionary contention was correct, and all 
men are by nature equal, education and the belief in Chris- 
tianity creating the existing difference between them, the 
farmers, in despite of themselves, would soon be compelled 
to alter their views, If, on the other hand, the farmers' 
contention was correct, and there are differences in the intel- 
lectual capacities of races which mark some as inferior to 
others, the best guarantee of the mild and just treatment of 
the lower race would be in securing the friendship of the 

The special commissioner, therefore, took no further action 
with regard to the missionary memorial. 

On the 19th of January 1854 he published a notice 
inviting those persons who were prepared to form an inde- 
pendent government to meet in Bloemfontein on the 15th 
of February. 

On that day two hostile committees assembled. One, 
under the presidency of Mr. Josias Philip Hoffman, a 
farmer who had been residing at Jammerberg Drift 
since 1843, entered into negotiations with the special 

The other was the remnant of the committee appointed 
by the delegates in September 1853, now reduced by the 
absence of Dr. Fraser and by secession to thirteen members. 
Among them were the representatives of the Winburg loyalists, 
Commandant Wessels, J. van Rensburg. and J. Vergottini, 
true to their political creed to the very last. They passed 
resolutions declaring themselves in permanent session, and 
that any dealings which the special commissioner should 
have with any other body would be null and void, as they 
only had been properly elected and represented the people. 
On the 16th Sir George Clerk wrote to Mr. H. J. Halse as 

362 History of South Africa. t l8 54 

the chairman, " dissolving the committee in consequence of 
unauthorised proceedings, and recommending to such members 
of it as had not seceded to agree with those persons who, 
under his authority, were then engaged as representatives of 
a majority of the inhabitants in carrying out the intentions 
of her Majesty's government in regard to the territory." 

The " obstructionists " then announced their intention to 
set at defiance any government that might be established in 
independence of the queen of England. Those of them who 
were of English blood declared that nothing short of an act 
of parliament should deprive them of their rights as British 
subjects. Those who were of Dutch descent indignantly 
exclaimed that after having adhered to the British govern- 
ment through weal and woe, and having thereby incurred 
the wrath of their republican fellow-countrymen, the special 
commissioner was now about to subject them to those whose 
friendship they had forfeited. They would nail the British 
ensign festooned with crape half-mast high, they declared, 
and hold out until the British parliament should decide their 
fate. Equally violent resolutions were adopted by a meeting 
held at Smithfield a few days later, when a "committee of 
safety" was elected with acclamation. 

From men labouring under such excitement, a dignified 
submission to the inevitable was not to be expected. A 
report had within the last few days been circulated of the 
discovery of gold in the neighbourhood of Smithfield, and 
the remnant of the old committee now wrote to the special 
commissioner begging him to delay proceedings until it should 
be seen whether there might not be a large influx of diggers. 
The object was to gain time for Messrs. Murray and Fraser 
to bring the matter before the house of commons, and for 
the Cape parliament, which was shortly to meet, to express 
an opinion whether the territory could not be annexed to the 
old colony. Sir George Clerk replied that the discovery of 
a gold field, no matter what its effects might be, would not 
alter the resolution of the imperial government. Indeed, 
though it was not then known in South Africa, a royal 

1854] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 363 

proclamation had already been signed — 30th of January 1854 — 
"abandoning and renouncing all dominion and sovereignty 
over the Orange River territory." 

Gold had been freely employed to alia}? the spirit of 
resistance. Under the name of compensation for losses 
occasioned by the change of government, large sums were 
expended. The claimants for losses sustained through the 
robberies of the Basuto had a twelvemonth before received 
two shillings and three pence in the pound, being the amount 
raised by the sale of the cattle obtained from Moshesh before 
and at Berea. Sir George Clerk gave them seven shillings 
and nine pence in the pound more. No less a sum than 
£33,744 was expended in this manner. The arrears of salary 
due to the civil servants were also paid out of imperial 
funds, £48,691 in all having been drawn from the British 
treasury to meet the expenses connected with the abandon- 
ment of the Sovereignty. By these means the number of 
"obstructionists," or loyalists as they termed themselves, was 
so reduced that those who still held out were rendered 

With the " well-disposed " assembly the special commis- 
sioner soon came to terms. On the 17th of February he 
laid before the members a draft of a convention containing 
ten articles, in accordance with previous arrangements. The 
assembly then deliberated on the articles in order. The first 
was agreed to without change. The second read : " The 
British government has no alliance whatever with any 
native chiefs or tribes to the northward of the Orange river, 
with the exception of the Griqua chief Captain Adam Kok." 
The assembly was desirous of adding the words "and shall 
hereafter make no treaties with them." The special com- 
missioner agreed to add "and her Majesty's government has 
no wish or intention to enter hereafter into any treaties 
which may be injurious or prejudicial to the interests of the 
Orange River government." 

The assembly desired information concerning the old 
treaties with Moshesh. Sir George Clerk replied in writing: 

364 History of South Africa. [^54 

" War between two powers breaks all pre-existing treaties. 
The British government has no treaty with Moshesh." 

Instead of the third article as originally drafted, the 
assembly desired to substitute another of a different nature; 
but upon Sir George Clerk engaging to use his best 
endeavours to gain Adam Kok's consent to a new treaty in 
conformity with their proposals, the draft was approved 

Some of the other articles were slightly modified, and the 
ninth on the original draft was embodied in the fifth ; but 
no alterations of importance were made. 

The arrangements having been completed, on the 23rd 
of February 1854 the convention was signed in the little 
building which now forms the vestibule of the museum at 
Bloemfontein, by Sir George Russell Clerk, as her Majesty's 
special commissioner, and the delegates for the district of 
Bloemfontein, Gerrit Johannes* du Toit, Jacobus Johannes 
Venter, and Dirk Johannes Krafford, for the district of 
Smithfield, Josias Philip Hoffman, Hendrik Johannes Weber, 
Petrus Arnoldus Human, and Jacobus Theodorus Snyman, for 
Sannah's Poort, Gerrit Petrus Visser, Jacobus Groenendaal, 
Johannes Jacobus Rabie, Esias Rynier Snyman, Charl Pieter 
du Toit, and Hendrik Lodewyk du Toit, for the district of 
Winburg, Frederik Pieter Schnehage, Matthys Johannes 
Wessels, Cornelis Johannes Frederik du Plooy, Frederik 
Pieter Senekal, Petrus Lafras Moolman, and Johannes Izaak 
Jacobus Fick, and for the district of Harrismith, Paul 
Michiel Bester, Willem Adriaan van Aardt, Willem Jurgen 
Pretorius, Jan Jurgen Bornman, and Adriaan Hendrik 

In the first article of the convention the special commis- 
sioner guaranteed, on the part of her Majesty's government, 
the future independence of the country and its government, 
and that its inhabitants should be free. The second article 
has already been quoted. The third provided for a modi- 
fication of the treaty between the British government and 
Adam Kok, and for the removal of all restrictions preventing 

1854] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 355 

Griquas from selling their lands. The fourth provided that 
no vexatious proceedings should be adopted by the new 
government towards those persons who had been loyal to her 
Majesty. The fifth provided for the extradition of criminals 
and for common access to courts of law. The sixth provided 
that certificates of marriage issued by proper authorities 
should mutually be regarded as legal. The seventh pro- 
hibited slavery or trade in slaves in the territory. The 
eighth gave the new government the right to purchase 
supplies of ammunition in any British possession in South 
Africa, and included a promise by the special commissioner 
to recommend to the colonial government that privileges of 
a liberal character in connection with import duties should 
be granted. And the ninth provided for the stationing of a 
consul or agent of the British government near the frontier 
of the Cape Colony to promote mutual facilities and liberty 
to traders and travellers. 

A few days later some other matters were arranged, and 
a memorandum relating to them was signed by the special 
commissioner. It provided for the gift by her Majesty to the 
new government of three thousand pounds sterling, to be 
distributed among persons who had suffered special hardship 
under the late administration ; for arbitration concerning 
disputed claims as to the extent of farms on the Basuto line ; 
for indemnification by the British government in cases where 
unjust appropriations had been ratified by British authority ; 
and for the presentation to the new government of the 
Queen's fort and certain public buildings. 

While the negotiations were proceeding, Adam Kok 
visited Bloemfontein and had an interview with the special 
commissioner. The Griqua captain was understood as having 
consented to allow the sale of land in the reserve, but he 
afterwards denied that he had done so. It was arranged 
that the British resident should proceed in a few days to 
Philippolis to confer with him and his council upon all the 
questions requiring settlement. Accordingly on the 1st of 
March Mr. Green arrived at the Griqua village, and laid 

366 History of South Africa. [ l8 54 

before Kok's government the proposals of the burgher 
assembly in the form of a treaty, which he requested the 
captain and his council to sign. 

It provided that the Griquas should have the right to sell 
their farms when they felt so disposed, but only through an 
agent of the British government; that persons of European 
descent purchasing farms in the Griqua reserve should 
become subjects of the new government ; that Captain Kok 
should retain authority over his own subjects in the reserve, 
except on the farm on which the village of Fauresmith was 
built, where a landdrost should be stationed by the new 
government; that Adam Kok should continue to be paid 
from the imperial treasury during his lifetime the sum of 
£300 a year, as stipulated in his agreement with Sir Harry 
Smith ; that all Griquas who lost farms in the territory 
between the Riet and Modder rivers by the agreement with 
Sir Harry Smith should be paid for them at once by the 
imperial government at rates varying from £37 10s. to 
£187 10s. each, according to their value ; and that if at any 
future time Kok and his people should desire to move over 
the Orange river into the Cape Colony, the British government 
would afford them every facility to do so. 

The Griqua council refused its assent to the first article, 
upon which Mr. Green informed them in writing that the 
special commissioner had declared the sales legal ; but in 
consequence of their refusal "to work with his Excellency 
for the public good, the offer of payment which he had made 
for lands beyond the Riet river was withdrawn, as the object 
in offering it— the preservation of peace — would probably 
be frustrated through the unsettled state in which the land 
tenures must be left in consequence of their resolution." 

On the 7th of March the missionary at Philippolis wrote 
in Adam Kok's name to Sir George Clerk that "the most 
important point of these proposals was that the restriction 
preventing sales of farms in the inalienable territory should 
be removed. He had brought this point before his people, 
and his council had frequently had it under their consideration, 

1854] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 367 

but the resolve was that they could not give their 
consent to such a proposal. It was not a modification but 
a reversal of the existing treaty, the leading principle of 
which was that the inalienable territory should remain for 
the use of the Griqua people." At the same time the writer 
desired Sir George Clerk to compensate individual Griquas 
for all claims they might advance to farms between the Riet 
and Modder rivers, that is the alienable territory of Sir 
Peregrine Maitland. 

Before the departure of the special commissioner from 
Bloemfontein, Moshesh visited that town, and was received 
in the most friendly manner by the members of the pro- 
visional government. At a public dinner he made a speech 
that would have been creditable to an educated and 
Christian ruler. He was on the most friendly terms with 
Moroko, who accompanied him, and he made liberal offers, 
though without effect, to Sikonyela. Sir George Clerk 
spoke to him of a British officer being stationed on the 
border as a channel of communication between the colonial 
government and the heads of the communities north of the 
Orange. Moshesh desired that he might be placed in the 
Lesuto, but did not press the matter. He inquired if the 
Warden line was still considered his boundary, and was 
requested by the commissioner not to speak of it — "it was 
a dead horse that had long been buried, to raise it would be 
offensive." Thus the Basuto chief was led to believe that 
the line was not considered binding by the imperial govern- 
ment, while the farmers had every reason to believe that it 

On the 11th of March the flag of England was hoisted 
for the last time over the Queen's fort, but only to be 
saluted. When it was lowered that of the new republic 
took its place, and the special commissioner, the troops, and 
the British officials were leaving Bloemfontein. Just as they 
set out a soldier suddenly dropped down dead, and they 
were obliged to halt until the corpse was buried in the 
military cemetery on the hill just behind the fort. Moshesh 

368 History of South Africa. [ l8 54 

and the other chiefs accompanied them the first stage of 
the journey towards the Cape Colony. Then in apparent 
friendship the commissioner, the chiefs, and the members 
of the new government bade each other farewell, and the 
farmers and Basuto were left to settle as they could the 
relation in which they were to stand to each other. 

At Philippolis Sir George Clerk remained some time, 
vainly endeavouring to induce Adam Kok to come to terms. 
Individual Griquas were anxious to sell ground for which 
they had little or no use, and individual farmers were ready 
to buy it. There was no enforcement of law or order in 
the district. Under these circumstances, the commissioner 
said, it was useless trying to retain the reserve intact. It 
would be better to legalise the sales than to have the 
district filled with people, Europeans and Griquas, setting 
him and his council at defiance. But the captain would not 
yield. Sir George Clerk then told him that the treaty upon 
which he based his pretensions would be set aside. The 
captain asked him to state that in writing, but the commis- 
sioner declined to do so. On another occasion Kok pressed 
for compensation for farms claimed by his people outside 
the reserve, which had been allotted by the Sovereignty 
government to burghers. The commissioner stated that he 
would make liberal compensation if the Griqua government 
would ratify the sales which were being made in defiance of 
it. But arguments, threats, and promises were alike wasted 
upon the captain, and the commissioner was obliged to leave 
the complicated Griqua question for solution by the new 

Meantime the delegates, Messrs. Fraser and Murray, had 
arrived in England. On the 16th of March they were 
admitted to an interview with the duke of Newcastle, who 
informed them that it was too late to discuss the question 
of the abandonment of the Sovereignty. In his opinion, 
the queen's authority had been extended too far in this 
country. It was impossible for England to supply troops 
to defend constantly advancing outposts, especially as 

l8 54] Abandonment of the Sovereignty. 369 

Capetown and the port of Table Bay were all she really 
required in South Africa. 

The delegates then tried to get the question discussed in 
the house of commons. At their instance Mr. C. B. 
Adderley, on the 9th of May, moved an address to her 
Majesty, praying that she would be pleased to reconsider the 
order in council renouncing sovereignty over the Orange 
River territory. In his speech he confined himself chiefly 
to the question whether it was legal for the crown to 
alienate British territory and absolve British subjects from 
their allegiance without the consent of parliament. Of the 
advantage of retaining the country he said but little. 

A few members spoke on the government side, among 
them being the attorney-general. All of them regarded the 
abandonment as expedient and perfectly legal. Sir John 
Pakington and Sir Frederick Thesiger thought it would 
have been better if the legislature had been consulted, but 
concurred in the expediency of the abandonment. 

Being without a single supporter, Mr. Adderley then 
withdrew his motion. 

vol. m. % A 



On the 9th of September 1851 Mr. A. W. J. Pretorius 
addressed a letter from Magalisberg to Major Warden, in 
which the man for whose apprehension the sum of two 
thousand pounds was still offered announced that at the re- 
quest of Moshesh and other chiefs, as well as of many white 
inhabitants, he had been instructed by the council of war 
and a large public meeting to proceed to the Sovereignty, 
and there devise measures for the restoration of peace and 
the prevention of such ruin as the Cape Colony then ex- 
hibited. The letter concluded with the statement that it was 
the wish of the emigrants beyond the Vaal to arrive at a 
good understanding with the British government, respecting 
which further announcements would be made on the arrival 
of the writer in the Sovereignty. 

Since the battle of Boomplaats Mr. Pretorius had 
abstained from interference in matters south of the 
Vaal, and had confined himself to requesting that the 
imperial government would send out two thoroughly 
impartial men to investigate the causes of discontent 
among the farmers of the Cape Colony and the proceedings 
of the emigrants. He believed that if this was done, the 
justice of their cause would be so apparent that their inde- 
pendence would be recognised. But now the condition 
of affairs in the Sovereignty seemed to invite a bolder 

A few weeks later the reverend Mr. Murray paid a 
visit to Potchefstroom, where he met Mr. Pretorius and 
most of the influential men of that district. They 


1 85 1 J Events north of the Vaal. 371 

informed him that there was no general desire to interfere 
in matters beyond their border, but that the emigrants 
were anxious to enter into a treaty with England by 
which their independence would be secured, and thought 
that a favourable time had arrived for obtaining what they 

On the 4th of October Mr. Pretorius wrote again to Major 
Warden, stating that the emigrants had long desired to enter 
into a lasting treaty of peace with the British government, 
and that he, with two others named F. G. Wolmarans and 
J. H. Grobbelaar, had been appointed by the council of war 
and " the public " to proceed to the Sovereignty and treat 
for the same. They did not intend to leave until they had 
consulted further with the landdrost and heemraden of 
Potchefstroom and with " the public." They therefore sent 
this intelligence by two messengers, and hoped to receive a 
reply that the British government was disposed to meet their 

On receipt of this letter Major Warden reported to the 
high commissioner that the fate of the Sovereignty depended 
upon the movements of a proscribed man. Moshesh would 
not probably make any further hostile movements until 
he could rely on assistance from Pretorius, who, on the 
other hand, would not decide upon anything before 
receiving an answer from the high commissioner. Mr. 
Murray had informed him that he believed the letter of 
the 4th of October correctly represented the desires of the 
Transvaal people. At any rate, time would be gained by 
corresponding with the delegates, and therefore he was about 
to write to them. 

On the 10th of October he replied that the " emigrant 
farmers beyond the Vaal river having communicated to him 
in writing, through them, their desire to come to a friendly 
understanding with the British government, he begged to 
inform them that his position precluded him from interfering 
in political matters beyond the limits of the Sovereignty. It 
would, however, afford him much pleasure to forward to his 

37 2 History of South Africa. [1851 

Excellency the high commissioner any communications 
coming from them, and which would at all assist in bringing 
about the objects the emigrant farmers had in view. He 
would suggest that whatever propositions they might wish 
to make for the consideration of government should be 
transmitted to his address, and they would be duly for- 
warded to his Excellency. He trusted they might be such 
as could be entertained by him. In conclusion, he had to 
add that while the British government was ever desirous 
to cultivate the friendship of all, it would never tolerate 
uncalled-for interference in any portion of the queen's 

Sir Harry Smith approved of the course adopted by 
Major Warden, and informed him that Major W. S. Hogg 
and Mr. C. Mostyn Owen, two gentlemen who had recently 
been appointed assistant commissioners, and who held large 
powers, would proceed to the Sovereignty with as little 
delay as possible for the purpose of examining into and 
arranging matters. 

The assistant commissioners reached Bloemfontein on the 
27th of November, and the objects of their mission were 
at once made known to Mr. Pretorius. On the 11th of 
December he wrote from Magalisberg, desiring to know 
when they would be prepared to commence negotiations, 
and where the delegates would have an opportunity to 
meet them. He desired that the place selected might be 
nearer the Vaal river than Bloemfontein, so that they could 
confer with each other in security. On behalf of the dele- 
gates he guaranteed to the assistant commissioners complete 
safety. He trusted that all prejudices which might have 
been entertained against the emigrants would be wholly set 
aside, so that in candour and confidence a good understanding 
might be established. 

To this communication a verbal reply was sent back by 
the messengers of Mr. Pretorius, to the effect that arrange- 
ments would be made as soon as possible, that the assistant 
commissioners had other pressing duties to perform which 

^S 1 ] Events north of the Vaal. 373 

must first be attended to, and that the place of meeting 
would be selected in accordance with the desires of the 

The assistant commissioners then made a minute inquiry 
into the condition of affairs. The imperial government had 
resolved in the most decided manner not to permit any- 
further extension of the British dominions in South Africa. 
It was therefore a mere matter of form to acknowledge 
the independence of the emigrants beyond the Vaal, as 
British authority had never been established there. But 
they reported that in their opinion very considerable 
benefits would arise from such an acknowledgment. 

1. It was the only way to secure the friendship of the 
Transvaal emigrants. 

2. It would detach them from the disaffected emigrants 
in the Sovereignty. 

3. It would prevent their alliance with Moshesh, which 
that chief was seeking. 

4. The Transvaal emigrants, through their delegates, of 
their own free will offered to bind themselves to certain 
conditions, such as the prohibition of slavery and the 
delivery of criminals, which otherwise could not be 

On the 23rd of December, therefore, the assistant com- 
missioners issued from Bloemfontein a public notice that 
they consented to receive a deputation from the Transvaal 
emigrants appointed to make certain friendly proposals to 
the government, and at the same time they published a 
proclamation of Sir Harry Smith, reversing the outlawry of 
Mr. Pretorius and withdrawing the offer of rewards for the 
apprehension of all who had been proscribed. The assistant 
commissioners added the following paragraph : " That the 
emigrants in times past have suffered grievances no 
reasonable person can deny ; that they, in their turn, have 
committed many unjustifiable acts is equally certain. The 
assistant commissioners express a hope that this act of grace 
may be a stepping stone to a rational and permanent 

374 History of South Africa, 1*852 

understanding, which may tend to promote the happiness 
of all, and lead to a general reconciliation.'* 

It was arranged that the conference should take place on 
the 16th of January 1852, at the farm of Mr. P. A. Venter, 
near the junction of Coal Spruit with the Sand river. Of 
the Transvaal emigrants, the section that adhered to 
Commandant Hendrik Potgieter was unrepresented. The 
other section was not represented in what under ordinary 
circumstances would be considered the proper manner, 
namely, by persons deputed by the volksraad or the govern- 
ment. Its deputies were chosen by a council of war, and 
approved of at public meetings. The cause of this was the 
violent party feeling that then prevailed. 

When Mr. Pretorius, early in 1848, went to reside at 
Magalisberg, the old jealousy between him and Mr. Potgieter 
was revived. A few months later, when he was preparing 
to expel the British resident from the Sovereignty, he sent 
to ask assistance from Mr. Potgieter's adherents. The 
volksraad met at Ohrigstad, took the question into con- 
sideration, and refused its aid. In the following year, 1849, 
at a general meeting of Mr. Potgieter's partisans, it was 
resolved : — 

1. That the volksraad should be the supreme legislative 
authority of the whole country. 

2. That all officials should be appointed by the volksraad 
and be subject to its instructions. 

3. That Ohrigstad should be the capital of the whole 
country. (This was shortly afterwards rescinded, and 
Lydenburg was declared to be the capital.) 

4. That Mr. A. H. Potgieter should retain the office of 
chief commandant during his life. 

The adherents of Mr. Pretorius were dissatisfied with the 
last arrangement, and pressed their objections with such 
force that in January 1851 the volksraad, with a view of 
putting an end to the dissensions, resolved to create four 
commandants-general, who should be equal in rank and 
independent of each other. The four appointed were :— 

l8 S 2 ] Events north of the VaaL 375 

A. H. Potgieter for Zoutpansberg, Rustenburg, and 

A. W, J. Pretorius for Rustenburg and Potchefstroom, 
each individual in these districts being left at liberty to 
choose which of the commandants he would serve under. 

W. F. Joubert for Lydenburg. 

J. A. Enslin for the western border. 

Instead of allaying strife, this arrangement tended to 
increase it, and the adherents of the two most prominent 
commandants-general were at this time so embittered against 
each other that one party was almost certain to disapprove 
of any proposal made by the other. Mr. Pretorius, there- 
fore, took no steps to convene the volksraad and obtain its 
authority for what he was doing. Commandant-General 
Joubert acted with him. Commandant- General Enslin was 
suffering from the illness of which he died a few weeks 

About three hundred Transvaal emigrants accompanied 
the delegates to the place of meeting. The disaffected 
farmers of the Sovereignty mustered to the number of about 
a hundred, in hope of preventing any agreement being made 
in which they were not also included Moshesh, who 
realised that if the interests of the Transvaal were sepa- 
rated from those of the opponents of the government in the 
Sovereignty, he had committed a great blunder, sent his 
principal counsellor with a few attendants to watch the 
proceedings and bring him a report. Nearly all the traders 
in the country were there also. The assistant commissioners 
went to the meeting with only an escort of five lancers. 

On their arrival they learned that a notorious criminal 
named Adriaan van der Kolff was present. This man, once 
church clerk at George, was a European adventurer who 
had for some months been the head of a band of Basuto 
and Koranas that had plundered the adherents of the 
English government far and wide. In communicating with 
Europeans he termed himself Moshesh's general, but to the 
Basuto and Bataung he represented himself as the agent of 

376 History of South Africa. t l8 5 2 

Mr. Pretorius. This scoundrel had not long before broken 
out of the prison at Potchefstroom, so that he was liable to 
be arrested on both sides of the Vaal, yet so strong was the 
bond which held together the opponents of British rule, that 
he could move about freely among the disaffected Sovereignty 

Major Hogg made it a preliminary to further action that 
Mr. Pretorius should cause Van der Kolff to be arrested. 
Mr. Pretorius replied that he could not do so, as he was 
within the Sovereignty. Major Hogg then said he would 
issue a written order for the arrest and expect Mr. Pretorius 
to have it carried out. But this coming to the knowledge of 
the Sovereignty farmers, one of them furnished Van der 
Kolff with a fleet horse, on which he rode to a rise in the 
ground at a short distance, and then capped his gun and 
halted as if to challenge the commissioners. Three lancers 
were thereupon sent in pursuit of the miscreant, but after a 
chase of a few miles he reached a band of Basuto and 
Koranas who were waiting for him. Moshesh's delegate, 
seeing the attempt made to arrest Van der Kolff, and that 
the farmers took no active steps to protect him, at once 
returned to Thaba Bosigo, in fear of like treatment for 
himself and his attendants. 

The negotiations were then entered into, and as each 
article was agreed upon the secretaries wrote it out and read 
it over in English and Dutch for approval. The secretaries 
were, on the part of the emigrants, Mr. J. H. Visagie, and 
on the part of the assistant commissioners, Mr. John Burnet. 
The last named gentleman had succeeded Mr. Isaac Dyason 
in May 1850 as clerk to the civil commissioner of Winburg, 
and was destined to take part in the most important events 
north of the Orange for the next sixteen years. Mr. 
Pretorius desired that the old district of Winburg should be 
included in the arrangement, but the assistant commissioners 
would not consent. He then vainly pressed that a general 
amnesty should be extended to those persons in the 
Sovereignty who had repudiated the government. Further, 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 377 

he desired to act as a mediator between the British 
authorities and the Basuto, but neither was this conceded. 

The articles of agreement were arranged by Mr. Burnet, 
and on the following day, the 17th of January 1852, the 
document which has ever since been known as the Sand 
River convention was signed. It contained nine clauses, in 
the first of which the assistant commissioners " guaranteed 
in the fullest manner, on the part of the British govern- 
ment, to the emigrant farmers beyond the Vaal river the 
right to manage their own affairs and to govern themselves 
according to their own laws, without any interference on 
the part of the British government ; and that no encroach- 
ment should be made by the said government *n the 
territory north of the Vaal river ; with the further assurance 
that the warmest wish of the British government was to 
promote peace, free trade, and friendly intercourse with the 
emigrant farmers then inhabiting, or who might thereafter 
inhabit, that country ; it being understood that this system 
of non-interference was binding upon both parties." 

The other clauses provided for arbitration in case of 
dispute about the boundary over the Drakensberg, dis- 
claimed all alliances by the British government with 
coloured tribes north of the Vaal, provided that no slavery 
should be permitted or practised by the emigrant farmers, 
made arrangements for free trade except in arms and 
ammunition, gave the emigrant farmers liberty to purchase 
supplies of ammunition in the British colonies but pro- 
hibited trade in war material with the coloured tribes on 
both sides of the river, provided for the extradition of 
criminals by both parties, acknowledged as valid certificates 
of marriage issued by the proper authorities north of the 
Vaal, and gave permission to any one except criminals and 
runaway debtors to move at pleasure from one side of the 
river to the other. 

The convention was signed on behalf of the British 
government by the assistant commissioners W. S. Hogg 
and C. Mostyn Owen, and on behalf of the Transvaal emi- 

378 History of South Africa. [1852 

grants by the delegates A. W. J. Pretorius, H. S. Lombard, 
W. F. Joubert, G. J. Kruger, J. N. Grobbelaar, P. E. Scholtz, 
F. G. Wolmarans, J. A. van Aswegen, F. J. Botes, N. J. S. 
Basson, J. P. Furstenberg, J. P. Pretorius, J. H. Grobbelaar, 
J. M. Lehman, P. Schutte, and J. C. Klopper. The two 
secretaries, John Burnet and J. H. Visagie, signed as 

On the 16th of March 1852 a general meeting of the 
emigrants took place at Kustenburg, a village recently founded 
on one of the sources of the Limpopo, about seventy English 
miles or one hundred and twelve kilometres due north of 
Potchefstroom. The situation is one of great beauty, being 
an amphitheatre on the northern side of the range which 
separates the feeders of the Limpopo from those of the 
Vaal, the country around is remarkably fertile, and the 
scenery is romantically grand. On the 11th Commandant- 
General Hendrik Potgieter with a considerable following 
had arrived at the village. In the bitterness of party 
feeling, Mr. Pretorius and those who had acted with him 
were accused by the Zoutpansberg people of usurping power 
which did not belong to them, of making a treaty without 
legal authority to do so, and of aiming at domination over 
the whole land. It was feared by many that there would be 
civil war. Mr. Pretorius reached Eustenburg on the 15th. 
That night some of the most influential burghers entreated 
the elders to endeavour to bring about a reconciliation 
between the two leaders. Before sunrise on the 16th — the 
usual time of rising of the farmers of South Africa — the 
elders induced them to meet in Mr. Potgieter's tent and 
discuss matters without animosity. The people waited 
anxiously to know the outcome, and there arose a shout of joy 
when the tent door was opened, and Pretorius and Potgieter 
were seen standing hand in hand with an open bible between 

The volksraad met at Eustenburg in the course of the 
morning. Mr. J. Stuart, author of De Hollandsche Afrikaner!, 
en hunne Bejpublieh in Zuid Afrika, acted as secretary. 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 379 

The members almost unanimously ratified the convention. 
Its details were made known by word of mouth to the 
assembled people, the only form of publication in a country 
without a printing press. 

The emigrants had at last obtained what they had striven 
for so long and through so much suffering. To God, the same 
God who had led from misery to happiness another people 
whose history was on every tongue, their grateful thanks 
were due. And so they joined together to praise Him. The 
psalms that they sung might have sounded discordant to 
those whose ears are used to organ and choir, the prayers 
that the elders uttered might have seemed to modern divines 
to savour more of the teaching of Moses than of Paul ; but 
psalm and prayer went up to the throne of God from deeply 
grateful hearts, and men who had never been moved to shed 
a tear by all the blows that disaster had struck were 
strangely moved that day. As one of the elders expressed 
himself, the strife of sixteen years was over, and independence 
was won. 

On the 31st of March 1852 Lieutenant -General the 
honourable George Cathcart succeeded Sir Harry Smith as 
high commissioner and governor of the Cape Colony. On 
the 13th of May he issued from Fort Beaufort a proclama- 
tion " notifying to the Transvaal boers his assumption of 
the government of the Cape of Good Hope and its de- 
pendencies, and expressing the great satisfaction it gave him, 
as one of the first acts of his administration, to approve 
of and fully confirm the convention." And on the 24th of 
June Sir John Pakington, secretary of state for the colonies, 
wrote to General Cathcart " signifying his approval of the 
convention and of the proclamation giving effect to it." 

At the time of the acknowledgment by Great Britain of 
the independence of the Transvaal emigrants, there were 
about five thousand families of these Dutch-speaking people 
resident in different parts of the country. To any inhabi- 
tant of Western Europe accustomed to the mode of living of 
modern times, the situation of these people would be 

380 History of South Africa. [1852 

regarded as very far from enviable. They were scattered 
about on immense farms or more properly speaking cattle 
runs, seldom less than three thousand Cape morgen or six 
thousand English acres in extent, on which they had not 
as yet been able to build better habitations than little cottages 
of two or at the most three rooms, with earthen 
floors and thatched roofs, often without glazed windows, 
and always scantily furnished. There were no roads, nothing 
more than tracks over the veld, and not a single bridge 
in the whole country. They were at an immense distance 
from the nearest seaport, and on no other vehicle in the 
world than a South African ox-waggon could goods of any 
kind be conveyed to them. Under these circumstances food 
that could not be produced by themselves and manufactured 
articles of every description were sold by the English or 
colonial travelling traders at rates that were almost 

There was so little money in circulation that trade 
was carried on almost entirely by means of barter. Ivory 
was always in demand, but it was only occasionally that a 
burgher was so fortunate as to shoot an elephant. Skins 
of domestic and wild animals were at this time the principal 
articles that the traders who conveyed goods from Port 
Elizabeth or Durban to the Transvaal territory received in 
exchange. The government itself was often so destitute of 
money that it was compelled to meet its most pressing 
engagements by indirectly paying in produce. An order 
was given to a creditor upon taxpayers in arrear, who would 
settle the account in the only way possible to them. 

Society was thus in a very crude state, but it must 
not be supposed that the people were not as happy as those 
in European towns. They were probably far more so. They 
were accustomed to dispense with many articles considered 
as necessaries in urban life, and felt no inconvenience 
from being without them, while they knew how to turn to 
account everything that was at their disposal. There were 
no people on earth who could adapt themselves to their 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 381 

environment more readily than these South Africans, and 
therefore they could live happily where others would have 
lost all heart. And now that their independence was acknow- 
ledged by the only power they had to fear, their cup of 
contentment was filled to the brim. At least so it seemed 
to the strangers who visited them at this time, and put on 
record what they observed. Discord and strife among them- 
selves, the cause of so much trouble in later years as well 
as in years gone by, appeared to be allayed when Pretorius 
and Potgieter were reconciled. 

The condition of the different Barolong clans with which 
the emigrant farmers had been thrown into such close con- 
tact, demands attention at this time. 

After their removal from Thaba Ntshu, the sections of 
the tribe under Tawane and Matlabe lived quietly in the 
Mooi Kiver district north of the Vaal, without giving or 
receiving any cause of complaint, until the country around 
them became occupied by people who had no cause to treat 
them with greater favour than other blacks. Tawane then, 
by Commandant Potgieter's advice, moved away to the country 
of his birth south of the Molopo and west of the Hart. 

Matlabe preferred to remain where he was. For a short 
period after Commandant Potgieter's removal to Ohrigstad, 
the Mooi River district was in a condition of partial law- 
lessness, and Matlabe was obliged to remove ; but as soon as 
order was restored he returned, and for many years after- 
wards continued to live on the ground given to him by 
Commandant Potgieter. It will not be necessary to refer 
to him again. 

It was towards the close of the year 1848 that Tawane 
removed from Mooi River to Lotlakana, now better known 
as Rietfontein, in the country once possessed by Tao. He 
had been away from the land of his birth more than fifteen 
years, and he returned to find it in a very different 
condition from that in which he left it. With the overthrow 
of Moselekatse and the establishment of the emigrant govern- 
ment north of the Vaal, an era of peace and safety had set 

382 History of South Africa. [1848 

in, and the remnants of the former tribes had left their 
retreats in the desert and were again planting corn and 
building huts on the banks of streams whose waters their 
fathers had drunk. 

Tawane's following was small when he reached Lotlakana, 
but he was comparatively wealthy in cattle, and he at once 
attracted about him those Barolong who in the dispersion 
had become Balala or vagrant paupers in the lowest stage 
of destitution. His principal kraal and his outposts grew 
with rapidity, and in less than a year his retainers could 
be numbered by thousands. 

There were several farmers living along the Molopo and 
at some of the best fountains in the country before the 
return of Tawane, but he was not in a position to dispute 
their right to be there. In fact he was less independent 
than he had been in the Mooi Eiver district, for now he 
was required to pay the labour tax. Further than this, 
however, his rule over the Barolong who were assembling 
about him was not interfered with, and he ended his life 
in prosperity and quietness. He died at the end of 1849, 
and was succeeded in the chieftainship by his son Montsiwa, 
then a man of some thirty years of age. 

One of the first acts of this captain after his father's 
death was to endeavour to obtain the services of a European 
adviser. He therefore sent his brother Molema to Thaba 
Ntshu, where the reverend Mr. Cameron was then residing, 
with a request that the Wesleyan society would provide him 
with a missionary. The request was laid before a district 
meeting of the clergymen of that body, with the result that 
in January 1850 the reverend Joseph Ludorf took up his 
residence at Lotlakana. As Mr. Ludorf is a prominent figure 
in the history of the Barolong tribe, it is necessary to 
give some account of his antecedents. He was by training a 
compositor, and came from Europe to South Africa in the 
capacity of a working printer in the service of the Paris 
evangelical mission society. The great study of his life 
was to make himself prominent, and as the French mission 

1851] Events north of the VaaL 383 

gave him no prospect in that way he left it and joined the 
Wesleyan society. He could speak glibly on religious sub- 
jects, and announced his devotion to the cause of those 
whom he termed ' the poor oppressed natives," so that he was 
regarded as an earnest and pious man and after a short 
period of probation and training was ordained as a missionary. 
He had a quick ear for picking up languages, could con- 
verse in German, French, Dutch, and English, and soon 
made himself master of Serolong. But unfortunately he 
was sadly wanting in moral principle, and was unable even 
to realise that a dishonest action or a wilful falsehood was 
sinful and disgraceful.* 

For two years Montsiwa got along fairly well with his 
neighbours, and there were no complaints on either side. 
All this time his strength was increasing, while the farmers 
were becoming more numerous in his neighbourhood. On 
the 14th of December 1851 Mr. Ludorf, in the name of 
the chief, wrote a letter to Commandant -General Pretorius, 
complaining that certain farmers had encroached on his 
territory and had taken possession of some of the best 
fountains. Mr. Pretorius immediately caused a reply to 
be written by Commandant Adriaan Stander, to the effect 
that the commandant-general and his council had appointed 
a commission to put a stop to all dissatisfaction, and that 
he wished Montsiwa to be present with his headmen at a 
certain place on the Molopo on the 30th instant to fix a 
line between the farmers and his people. 

A few days later the commandant -general himself ad- 
dressed Montsiwa, whom he styled " Worthy Chief and Ally," 
regretting to hear that encroachments on his territory had 
been made, and notifying that the commission had full 
power ' to decide in the name of the emigrant farmers, and 
with his consent and approval, upon a boundary line, that 
they might continue to dwell together in friendship and 

* H©e the Bloejahfpff arbitration bluebook for proof of this state- 

384 History of South Africa. [1852 

On the 30th of December 1851 the emigrant commission 
and the heads of Montsiwa's clan met at a farm house 
belonging to Mr. Theunis Steyn on the southern bank of 
the Molopo. The commission consisted of the commandants 
Andries Stander and Pieter Scholtz, who were attended by- 
two fieldcornets and ten burghers. Montsiwa was accom- 
panied by two of his brothers, the reverend Mr. Ludorf, and 
ten counsellors. After a friendly discussion a boundary 
line between the Europeans and Montsiwa was agreed upon, 
which gave the Barolong an additional spring of water called 
Mooimeisjesfontein. In that part of South Africa, almost 
more than in any other, an additional permanent spring 
meant a great deal, much more than a very large tract of 
waterless land would have done, so that the gain to the 
clan was considerable. But in this case, as in most others 
where Bantu are concerned, there are two ways of regarding 
the right to land. The emigrant farmers considered them- 
selves the legitimate owners of the whole territory as far 
as the desert to the westward, because they had driven the 
Matabele from it, and that tribe had beyond all question 
been for years in full possession of it. The earlier occu- 
pants had been almost exterminated, a few, among whom were 
these Barolong, had fled far away, and all who remained 
had been reduced to the position of Balala, having no 
longer rights of property either in their own opinion or 
any one else's. The farmers looked upon the grant of a 
location to Montsiwa's clan, ample for the requirements of 
those people at the time, as an act of kindness and friend- 
ship, not as one simply of strict justice which they could 
not refuse without doing a wrong. In 1852 Montsiwa was 
still too weak to dispute this view of the matter, and accepted 
with thanks what was allotted to him ; but the time 
was not far distant when he would feel himself strong 
enough to follow the advice of his European prompter and 
lay claim to an immense region as his by right, on account 
of its having been in possession of his great ancestor Tao, 
from which his clan had only been temporarily expelled by 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 385 

violence. The pure Bantu idea is that the strongest has 
the right to the ground, but they readily adopt such a view 
as that here given when it is impressed upon them by 
European advisers. 

On the 8th of January 1852 Commandant -General Pretorius 
wrote to his " worthy friend and ally Montsiwa," that " he 
had submitted the report of the commission to his council, 
who had approved of the boundary line ; that he trusted 
no encroachments would be made in future, and that Montsiwa 
on his side would use every endeavour to keep hi3 people 
under good rule and order, so that their friendship might 
long continue." 

All this looks very much as if Commandant -General 
Pretorius regarded Montsiwa as an independent chief. But 
this was certainly not his view of the matter. The style of 
his letters is exactly the same as that in which he was 
in the habit of addressing all the petty captains in the 
country who were living under the farmers' protection. We 
would term them vassals, but he chose to call them allies. 
The boundary line he regarded as we would the boundaries of 
a location for blacks in the Cape Province. That in the 
days of his weakness Montsiwa also took this view of his 
position is made equally certain by the following circum- 
stance : — 

A few months later Commandant Pieter Scholtz, who was 
then the highest local authority in that neighbourhood, 
convened a meeting of all the chiefs about the Molopo. 
The missionaries resident with them were also requested to 
attend, the object being to settle all disputes between 
them, to apportion land to those who complained that 
they had none, and generally to bring about a good 
understanding. Montsiwa attended the meeting, but Mr. 
Ludorf did not appear. 

The conference was a friendly one. It took place at a 
mission station, and the reverend Mr. Edwards, Dr. Living- 
stone's successor as missionary with the Bakatla clan, which 
was then under a chief named Moselele, at Mabotsa 

VOL. III. 2 E 

386 History of South Africa. [1852 

acted as interpreter for the commandant. The blacks 
present all admitted that the country they were in belonged 
to the emigrant farmers by right of conquest from Mosele- 
katse. Some chiefs who had recently moved in had ground 
assigned to them on condition of paying the labour tax and 
a heifer every year. Montsiwa asked that a distinction 
should be made in his favour, as he was an old friend of 
the farmers. He desired to be released from payment of the 
labour tax. Commandant Scholtz asked if he would prefer 
to be placed in the same position as a burgher, that is to 
pay taxes in money and to render military service when 
called upon to do so. Montsiwa replied that he would be 
satisfied with such an arrangement, and an agreement to 
this effect was concluded between them, excepting that the 
amount of the money tax was left to be settled by the 

The victory of the Basuto at Viervoet and the subse- 
quent attitude of Moshesh towards the Sovereignty govern- 
ment had a disturbing effect upon the tribes as far as the 
Limpopo. Especially was this the case with the Bapedi, 
between whom and Moshesh's people there was the warmest 
sympathy. Sekwati, the Bapedi chief, began to think that as 
the southern Basuto had successfully resisted the white 
man, he might do the same. He had a country similarly 
fortified by nature to fight in, and he had recently obtained 
from unscrupulous white traders a good m^ny guns, mostly 
of the cheapest kind, and a quantity of inferior gunpowder. 
With these weapons, which they had not yet learned to use 
properly, the Bapedi were really not more formidable than 
with assagais and battle-axes ; but the possession of guns 
with them, as with all Bantu tribes, increased their con- 
fidence in themselves and created a warlike spirit. 

The Sand Biver convention had hardly been signed when 
the question of arming the blacks came up for discussion 
between the Transvaal government and her Majesty's high 
commissioner in Capetown. Commandant- General Pretorius 
complained that English hunters and traders were in the 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 387 

habit of entering the country north of the Vaal by the 
lower road, and that by keeping along the line of mission 
stations which had recently been established in the west 
of the republic, they made their way to the interior and 
supplied the tribes there with firearms and ammunition in 
defiance of the sixth clause of the convention. He requested 
that such persons should be required to pass through 
Potchefstroom, both in going and returning, that the number 
of their guns might be checked ; and he notified that the 
lower road was closed. The high commissioner regarded these 
precautions as reasonable and necessary for the security 
of the new state, but the hunters and traders paid no regard 
to them, 

Prudence demanded that the danger should be done 
away with before it attained larger dimensions. The Bapedi, 
feeling confidence in their strength, had already commenced 
to rob the neighbouring farmers of cattle, so the volksraad 
instructed Commandant-General Hendrik Potgieter to proceed 
against them, exact compensation for the robberies, and 
disarm them. For this purpose the burghers of Zoutpansberg 
were called out. 

On the 25th of August 1852 the commando reached the 
foot of the mountain on which Sekwati resided, and which 
he had strongly fortified by constructing rough stone walls 
or embankments across every path by which it might be 
scaled. The top of the mountain was held by a large number 
of men, and there were great droves of cattle on it, so 
that there was no fear of hunger ; but water was wanting, 
and very little had been stored. Potgieter had with him the 
commandants Schoeman and Van Wyk, six other officers, and 
three hundred and fifteen burghers. He invested the strong- 
hold by stationing a guard at each opening to the summit, and 
then sent a message to Sekwati requiring him to surrender 
his guns. The answer of the chief was short and to the 
point : " Come and take them." 

A close inspection showed that the mountain could not 
be carried by storm. Behind the stone walls were warriors 

388 History of South Africa. [1852 

armed with guns, who could also roll down boulders on an 
advancing force. The commandant-general therefore resolved 
to blockade it closely, and to send out a patrol under 
Schoeman to scour the neighbouring country. 

Commandant Schoeman found every hill defended by 
armed forces, and though none of them were anything near 
as strong as Sekwati's mountain, it was not without diffi- 
culty that he succeeded in getting possession of several 
of them. During nine days he was almost constantly skirmish- 
ing, but in that time he secured five thousand head of 
horned cattle, six thousand sheep and goats, nine guns, and 
some ammunition, with a loss of one burgher — Stephanus 
Fouche — killed and three wounded. 

On the third day of the investment of his stronghold 
Sekwati sent a messenger to ask for peace, but refused to 
give up his guns. The want of water on the mountain was 
already causing much suffering. The commandant -general 
declined to grant any terms short of complete disarmament, 
and so the blockade continued. During the nights parties of 
women and children were sent out to obtain water. At first 
the burgher guards allowed the famished creatures to pass 
down, but not to return, till it was discovered that men 
were making their way out in this manner, when no more 
were permitted to go by. 

Mr. Potgieter, who was in delicate health when the 
expedition set out, now became so seriously ill as to be 
unable to direct operations any longer. Mr. Schoeman 
therefore took the chief command. There was little else to 
do than to guard the outlets, and let thirst destroy the 
garrison. Women, children, and cattle were dying for want 
of water. The blood of oxen and sheep was the only liquid 
that kept life in the warriors. The burghers were not one 
to twenty of the men whose wives and children were thus 
famishing, and they were scattered about in little pickets, 
while the whole Bapedi force could be directed to one 
point. Under such circumstances, it might be expected that 
e most arrant cowards would have cut their way out ; but 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 389 

the Bapedi, so confident when danger was at a distance, had 
now lost heart, and, except with women and children in 
front of them, did not dare to meet the farmers' bullets. 
Twenty days the blockade lasted. How many human beings 
perished cannot be stated with any pretension to accuracy, 
but the number must have been large. The air was polluted 
with the stench of thousands of dead cattle. 

On the twentieth day a heavy storm of rain fell, which 
would enable the Bapedi to prolong their resistance. Ammuni- 
tion was becoming scarce in the farmers' camp, the horses 
were dying, and many of the men were sick. All were weary 
of the excessive discomfort to which they had been subject, 
and all were of opinion that the punishment of the Bapedi 
had been sufficiently severe. Commandant Schoeman therefore 
retired, and the burghers were disbanded. The main object 
of the expedition — the disarmament of the Bapedi — had not 
been attained. But Sekwati had been so chastised that it 
was long before his people troubled the farmers again. 



Another military expedition in 1852 was that against the 
Bakwena, which, owing to the destruction of the reverend 
Dr. Livingstone's property, has been heard of in every land 
where the English language is spoken. 

The Bakwena tribe at this time was an almost insignifi- 
cant section of the people properly called Bakwena, that is 
those whose siboko is the crocodile. It owed its title 
indeed not to its siboko at all, but to the fact that the 
chief under whom it commenced its separate tribal existence 
bore the name Kwena. It was one of those which had been 
nearly annihilated by Moselekatse. Only a remnant escaped 
to the desert, where the Matabele could not follow, owing 
to their ignorance of the watering places. When Moselekatse 
was driven away, this remnant returned to its former home, 
and received from Mr. Potgieter permission to remain there. 
Being far from the settlement along the Mooi river, no 
labour tax was imposed upon the Bakwena, and the only 
restriction placed upon them was that they should not 
possess guns, horses, or waggons, the object being to 
prevent them from acquiring military power. Their chief, 
Setsheli by name, was a man who in ability ranked among 
the southern Bantu second only to Moshesh, though he was 
very far behind the great Mosuto. In 1845 Dr. Livingstone 
had established a mission with these people, and had acquired 
astonishing influence over Setsheli. Far and wide it was 
told in the country that the chief of the Bakwena had been 
bewitched by a white man, who had him under complete 


1852] Events north of the Vaal. 391 

By the missionary's advice Setsheli had moved from the 
location assigned to him by Mr. Potgieter, and had estab- 
lished himself on the Kolobeng river some forty miles 01 
sixty-four kilometres to the westward, where water could be 
led out for irrigation purposes and where the tribe was at 
a greater distance from the farmers. At this place Dr. 
Livingstone built a comfortable house, mostly by his own 
labour, for his industry was very great and he could turn 
his hand to almost anything. It was more commodious and 
better furnished than the dwellings of the great majority 
of the farmers, and in it he and his amiable wife— a 
daughter of the reverend Dr. Robert Moffat, of Kuruman,— 
exercised unbounded hospitality towards the English hunters 
and traders who passed Kolobeng on their way to the interior 
or back to the Cape Colony. Here Setsheli, or more properly 
his missionary in his name, claimed to be perfectly inde- 
pendent. The boers, he said, wanted to close the road and 
keep the interior for themselves, but he was determined 
that it should remain open, and he would see who would win. 
It was one man, but a man of tremendous force of character 
and able to use a powerful pen, versus the whole body of 
unlettered emigrant farmers. 

It would be hardly possible to find a man not born in 
the country more closely resembling a South African farmer in 
character than the reverend Dr. Livingstone. He had all the 
indomitable perseverance, the disregard of difficulties, the 
coolness in time of peril, the power of adaptability to various 
kinds of environment, the migratory spirit (treklust), the 
hatred of restraint of any kind, which characterised the 
emigrants. But he had been educated in the school of modern 
English ideas, and consequently his opinions with regard to 
politics and particularly with regard to the mode of treat- 
ment of the coloured races differed from those of the 
farmers, who held the views of the seventeenth century in 
Europe modified by their own experience and that of their 
fathers. They did not believe the black people were equal 
in intellect to Europeans, or were likely ever to become 

392 History of South Africa. [1852 

so. He maintained that they were, and only needed education 
to make their abilities apparent. In proof of this he 
challenged Mr. Potgieter's adherents to put forward any of 
their number who could read as well as some of his pupils. 
They did not reply to this, though they could have 
answered that the ability to read was no test, but the 
ability to apply to some useful purpose knowledge gained by 
reading would be. Men of similar character who differ in 
some unimportant matter, and are equally stubborn in main- 
taining their own opinions, usually dislike each other more 
than men of altogether different dispositions would do, and 
so it came about that the reverend Dr. Livingstone and the 
emigrant farmers in the Transvaal territory were always 
openly at feud. 

The great abilities of the missionary and his partisan- 
ship of the blacks brought him into prominence, while his 
disregard of the sentiments of the white inhabitants of the 
country and his complete want of sympathy with them caused 
him to be regarded as a formidable opponent. In the second 
chapter of his Missionary Travels and Besearches in South 
Africa he has given ample illustration of this. By the 
emigrant farmers he was not then, nor has he at any time 
since, been considered a missionary in the sense of being 
an instructor of the heathen in divine truths. Report and 
common belief represented him as bent upon arming the 
tribe and instigating the chief to oppose the republican 
government. The great contrast between the conduct of 
the Bakwena during his residence with them and the period 
when they were under the guidance of a German missionary 
was pointed out years later in the volksraad and by the 
press as proving beyond doubt that the opinions of 1845-52 
were correct. Whether they were well-founded or not is 
difficult to determine. That he carried on a trade in guns 
and ammunition, at any rate to a large extent, is not pro- 
bable, despite the evidence that has been produced to the 
contrary ; but that he saw no harm in it is evident from the 
statements in his well-known volume. Most likely the truth 

1848] Events north of the Vaal. 393 

is that he, being in a situation where money was of no 
use in providing food or personal services, purchased what 
was necessary for the existence of himself and his family 
with guns and ammunition, articles which were in constant 
demand. That he went further in this direction is scarcely 
credible, though he certainly knew that others were doing 
so without remonstrating with them or in any way en- 
deavouring to prevent such traffic. 

"When the reverend Messrs. Eobertson and Faure visited 
the country at the close of 1848 by direction of the synod 
of the Cape Colony, they met Dr. Livingstone at Commandant 
Kruger's residence at Magalisberg. His object in going to 
see them was to request them to use their influence to 
obtain permission for him to station a coloured teacher 
with one of the Betshuana clans. Dr. Robertson was, like 
himself, a Scotch clergyman, and the reverend Mr. Faure 
was a zealous promoter of missions, so that he probably 
looked for sympathy as well as aid. They gave the following 
account of what transpired on this occasion in their report 
of their mission : — 

" We promised to speak with the commandants on the 
subject, and accordingly did so, when they declared them- 
selves not opposed to the spread of the gospel, but, on the 
contrary, willing to assist in promoting it, especially if 
Moravian or Dutch missionaries came to labour among the 
natives. They stated, however, that they could not comply 
with Dr. Livingstone's request, because he provided the 
natives with firearms and ammunition, adding that shortly 
before the inhabitants of one kraal had destroyed those of 
another by means of firearms obtained from him. They 
declared themselves ready to maintain this statement in 
presence of Dr. Livingstone. This we communicated to him, 
on which he mentioned to us that he had given some 
guns and ammunition to a certain party who pretended that 
they were going out on an elephant hunt, but who, in- 
stead of doing so, had gone to attack a neighbouring kraal. 
We therefore proposed to Dr. Livingstone to meet the 

394 History of South Africa. [1852 

commandants, when the question between him and them 
might be explained, and the matter respecting the stationing 
of native teachers be satisfactorily settled. To this proposal 
he gave his consent, and it was agreed that the interview 
should take place immediately after the religious service, 
which was soon to commence. When the commandants, how- 
ever, came to our apartment for the purpose of meeting Dr. 
Livingstone, he was not to be found, having left the place 
during the time of divine service. We were afterwards 
informed that he had been warmly disputing with some of 
the farmers, telling them among other things that they 
were British subjects. Whether he knew that by these dis- 
putings he had excited an angry feeling against him, which 
was certainly the case, and on that account thought it 
more prudent to depart previous to the proposed interview, 
we are unable to determine." 

Owing to his residence with the Bakwena, as much as 
to the conduct of the chief, who was known to be entirely 
under his influence, the tribe was regarded with great distrust, 
but it was not until the winter of 1852 that Setsheli openly 
defied the republican government. 

There was an offshoot of the Bahurutsi tribe living in a 
condition of vassalage on ground near the Marikwa assigned 
to it by Mr. Potgieter. These people called themselves the 
Bakatla, and had, in addition to the crocodile, adopted a 
variety of the monkey as their siboko. It was with them 
that Dr. Livingstone lived from 1843 to 1845, while he was 
making himself acquainted with the language and customs of 
the Betshuana, and it was here, at Mabotsa, that a lion 
which he had wounded sprang upon him and crunched one of 
his arms, leaving the marks by which his body was identified 
when it was borne from Central Africa to England to be laid 
at rest with the most renowned of Britain's sons in West- 
minster Abbey. He had intended from the time of his arrival 
in the country to commence a mission with the Bakwena, but 
as that tribe was then engaged in war with its neighbours 
he was unable to do so before 1845, when the reverend 

1852] Events north of the Vaah 395 

Roger Edwards, of the London missionary society, relieved 
him at Mabotsa. The name of the chief of the Bakatla was 

Quiet and peaceful as long as it was believed that the 
white man's power was irresistible, ever since Viervoet the 
Bakatla had not ceased to be troublesome as cattle-lifters. 
At length, after repeated warnings, the government resolved 
to call Moselele to account, and if necessary to punish 
him, but instead of obeying the summons to appear before 
the nearest court, he and his principal followers fled to 
the Bakwena and claimed shelter, It was a point of honour 
with Setsheli to protect a chief who appealed to him in 
this manner, more especially a chief of a clan higher in 
rank among the Betshuana. These people were divided into 
communities politically independent of each other, who had 
no scruple in making war among themselves and devastating 
the lands of any of their neighbours who happened to be 
weaker at the time, and yet they all paid a certain amount 
of respect to the chiefs who were nearest in blood to the 
great line of Mogale, the traditionary head of them all. 
The Bahurutsi thus took preeminence among them, because 
their chiefs were directly descended, great son from father 
through all the generations up to Mogale, who lived and 
ruled in some far distant land in the north. Setsheli 
himself claimed and received this respect from others who 
were not so near the great line as himself. Thus if he was 
out with them in the hunting field the breast of every 
antelope slain was presented to him. None of them could 
partake of the first fruits of .the harvest until he had 
eaten. This custom has died out since Europeans have become 
supreme in the country, and the reduction of all the tribes 
to a common level of destitution by the Matabele did much 
to weaken it, but in 1852 it was still to a certain extent 
observed. Setsheli therefore extended to Moselele the 
hospitality which he claimed, promised him protection, and 
sent to some other chiefs in the neighbourhood to request 
them to join in resistance to the white men. According to 

396 History of South Africa. [1852 

the theory of the emigrant farmers, this action was rebel- 
lion, as Setsheli was their vassal, though not interfered 
with in any way in the government of his own people. If 
Dr. Livingstone's claim that Setsheli was an independent chief 
was correct, the act was a declaration of war, though not 
of rebellion.* 

The volksraad instructed Commandant- General Pretorius 
to see that the law was enforced. A commando of over 
three hundred men was therefore called out and placed 
under direction of Mr. Pieter Ernest Scholtz, whose orders 
were to demand the surrender of Moselele, and if Setsheli 
would not comply, to attack him. 

The Barolong chief Montsiwa had shortly before, at his 
own request, been released from the labour tax and placed 
upon the footing of a burgher. He was now called upon by 
the commandant to supply, as a burgher, a contingent of 
twenty men to assist in arresting Moselele. Montsiwa sent 
excuses, but no men. The commando then moved on to 
Setsheli's kraal without any assistance from him. 

On the afternoon of Saturday the 28th of August the 
burgher force arrived at Kolobeng. The Bakwena were 
found to have intrenched themselves, and to have obtained 
the assistance from other tribes that the chief had asked for. 
Commandant Scholtz at once sent a message in friendly 
words requiring the surrender of Moselele. Setsheli's answer 
was that he would not give up Moselele, that Scholtz must 

* This account does not agree with that of Dr. Livingstone, 
as given by him from information supplied by Setsheli, in which 
Moselele is entirely ignored. I feel therefore under the necessity 
of quoting my authorities. These are (a) the proceedings of the 
volksraad of the South African Republic as communicated at the 
time to the British officials in the Sovereignty, (b) the reports of 
Commandant-General Pretorius and Commandant P. E. Scholtz, 
(c) Setsheli's own statement published in the imperial blue-book on the 
Orange River Sovereignty in 1854, (d) at least twenty different state- 
ments made in later years by individuals who were actors in this 
matter, (e) the evidence given before the Bloemhof arbitrators, and (/) a 
large quantity of correspondence of the period, published and unpublished. 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 397 

fight if he wanted him. So far, Setsheli's own account agrees 
with that of the Europeans. The chief adds that he had 
supplied his allies with powder and lead. Commandant 
Scholtz adds that Setsheli boasted of being amply furnished 
with guns and ammunition. " The boers were in the pot," 
he said, ' the next day was Sunday, but on Monday he 
would put on the lid." On Sunday he sent to the camp to 
ask for some sugar. The commandant told the messenger 
that such a boaster needed pepper more than sugar. At 
the same time the chief pointed out where the oxen were 
to be sent to graze, because, he said, the grass elsewhere 
was poisonous, and he regarded the cattle already as 
his own. 

On Monday morning Commandant Scholtz sent two men 
to Setsheli to ask him to come to terms. So much forbear- 
ance had the effect of strengthening the chief's confidence in 
his own power. He therefore challenged the commandant to 
fight, and tauntingly added that if the farmers had not 
sufficient ammunition he would lend them some. In the 
commandant's report, he adds that he sent two messages 
subsequently before the fighting commenced. Only the last 
of the two is referred to by Setsheli in his account. The 
message was that the women and children had better be sent 
to some place out of danger. Setsheli's reply was that the 
women and children were his, and that the commandant need 
not trouble himself about them. 

The burghers then advanced to the attack. The Bakwena 
and their allies were posted in strong positions, which 
it was necessary to storm. Setsheli afterwards asserted 
that his allies fled on the first shot being fired, but his own 
people certainly acted with greater courage than is commonly 
shown by Betshuana. It was only after six hours' hard 
fighting that the burghers obtained possession of the intrench- 
ments and two of the ridges. Night was falling, and the 
Bakwena still held a rocky hill. During those six hours the 
burgher loss had been four men killed — Jan de Klerk, G. 
Wolmarans, Smit, and a half-breed — and five wounded, 

398 History of South Africa. [1852 

Setsheli gave his loss as eighty-nine killed. At dusk the 
commando returned to the camp. 

Next morning a patrol of one hundred and fifty men, 
under Fieldcornet Paul Kruger, was sent out to see if the 
Bakwena were still on the hill. It was found that the 
warriors had fled during the night ; so they were followed 
up, when they retired into the Kalahari desert. The women, 
children, and a few cattle were left behind. 

On Wednesday the 1st of September Commandant P. 
Sehutte was sent with a patrol to the old kraal of Kolobeng, 
some eight or nine miles (thirteen or fourteen kilometres) 
distant, where the reverend Dr. Livingstone resided when 
at the station. The Bakwena had moved from this 
place some time before to the locality where the burghers 
met them. Upon his return the commandant reported that 
he had found the missionary's residence broken open, and 
his books and other property destroyed. Dr. Livingstone 
was not there at the time. He had gone to Capetown with 
his family, and. after sending his wife and children to 
England, was returning to Kolobeng when these occurrences 
took place. At Motito on his way back he met Setsheli, who 
was then proceeding to Capetown in hope of obtaining 
assistance from the English government, and from whom 
Dr. Livingstone received the account which has so often 
since been quoted as a true relation of what occurred. This 
is placed beyond question by a letter from Dr. Livingstone 
to the secretary of state for the colonies, written just after 
the meeting with Setsheli, in which the identical account is 
given which appears in the missionary's published volume. 
But Setsheli himself, on arriving in Capetown, gave 
an account which is more in accord with that of the 
burgher leaders, much more so, indeed, in the principal 
points than with his other version published by Dr. 

At the time, in a report to his commanding officer, which 
no one could then suppose would ever be published, Com- 
mandant Sehutte stated that Dr. Livingstone's house had 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 399 

been broken open and pillaged before his arrival at Kolobeng. 
Eepeated testimony from scores of persons who were present 
was given to the same effect from that date until the Bloem- 
hof arbitration. That is the evidence on one side. On the 
other — that the house was broken open by the farmers — is 
the statement of Setsheli, made after his defeat, when he 
desired above all things to procure English assistance. There 
is further on one side the fact that the burghers regarded 
Dr. Livingstone as a very dangerous enemy, as living in their 
country and yet setting their laws at defiance, and were 
therefore not likely to have any scruples with respect to the 
destruction of his property. And on the other side, that 
the majority of the Bakwena were not likely to have any 
scruples either, that there was in the country at the time a 
band of desperadoes consisting chiefly of deserters from the 
army who would have no misgivings in plundering a solitary 
and unprotected house, and the fact that on the march of 
the burghers towards Kolobeng two men had been tried by 
court martial, and sentenced to take their choice between 
thirty lashes or renunciation of all commando privileges, for 
having pilfered some articles from a missionary's residence. 
The great structure raised in England upon Setsheli's state- 
ment, the charges against the emigrant farmers founded upon 
it, and made and re-made until a collection would fill many 
volumes, cannot be regarded as evidence. What is really to 
be weighed in coming to a judgment is here placed before 
the reader, who can form his own opinion. 

There was a building used as a workshop, which was 
found locked. Some of the prisoners informed the com- 
mandant that there was ammunition in it, upon which he 
caused it to be opened, and found a quantity of tools which 
he described as gunmaker's and blacksmith's, and some 
partially finished guns (probably under repair). The whole 
of the loose property upon the place was then confiscated 
and removed. 

The commando retired with three thousand head of horned 
cattle, eleven horses, a few goats, two waggons, forty-eight 

400 History of South Africa. [1852 

guns, and all the loose property that was of value. A great 
many of the cattle were claimed by different persons as 
having been stolen from them, and when these were given 
up the troop was greatly reduced. 

The reputation of the burghers would have suffered less 
in Europe if the account could be ended here. But when 
they retired, between two and three hundred women and 
children, who had been abandoned by the warriors, were 
taken as prisoners with them. This was held to be the 
simplest plan of bringing Setsheli to terms. Exactly the 
same thing has been done by gallant and humane English- 
men in more recent times, and when due care is taken that 
no abuse of any kind follows, the act can only be considered 
a justifiable proceeding in war with barbarians. Such a 
circumstance is regarded as a matter of course in intertribal 
quarrels, when the women and children are not put to death. 
But where the arm of the law is weak the practice must be 
condemned, as it opens a door to many abuses. In this case 
the primary object was to obtain something towards the cost 
of the expedition. It was expected that the relatives of the 
captives would offer cattle for their redemption, or that 
Setsheli would propose favourable terms on condition of their 
release. Only a very few, however, were redeemed by their 
friends. Nearly all, after a short captivity, escaped or were 
permitted to return to their tribe, and the remainder, being 
children, were apprenticed to various persons. 

Moselele, for whose arrest the commando had been called 
out, was not captured. He fled to Gasiyitsiwe, chief of the 
Bangwaketse, who gave him shelter and protection. 

When in the neighbourhood of Lotlakana on his return 
Commandant Scholtz sent to Montsiwa, requiring him to 
come to the camp and account for his refusal to furnish a 
contingent to the expedition. A burgher acting similarly 
would have been treated in exactly the same way. The 
penalty was a fine. The chief, who professed to be afraid, 
sent the missionary Ludorf and two of his counsellors to 
speak for him. The commandant declined to receive the 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 401 

missionary, and directed the counsellors to return and 
inform Montsiwa that he must appear in person. 

That night the Barolong clan held long and anxious 
counsel. The missionary states in his account that he put 
before them three courses that they could follow. His 
words are : 'M said there are three deaths, choose the which 
you will die. First, take some cattle and go to the boers, 
and pray to have peace ; give up all your guns, pay taxes, 
and become their slaves. Or second, look without delay for 
a hiding place, but look to the consequence — no water, and 
a burning sun. Or third, stand and fight like men for your 
lives, property, and freedom. As for me, I cannot say which 
will be best for you." Of the one course that was life — honest 
adherence to their engagements, which did not mean slavery 
or anything resembling slavery — this adviser had nothing to 

At daybreak on the morning of the loth of September 
1852 the Barolong of Montsiwa, said by the missionary to 
be then sixteen or eighteen thousand in number, began to 
abandon Lotlakana and flee to the southwest. That there 
was not the slightest necessity for doing so is proved, not 
only by the subsequent statements of the commandants, but 
by the fact that the burgher force proceeded onward without 
any demonstration against the place, and that it was not until 
the 28th of the month, when the commando was far away, 
that the huts were set on fire by Montsiwa's order. That 
the chief would be fined for neglect to do his duty was indeed 
highly probable. But the destruction of his kraal was 
entirely his own act, and the flight of the clan was simply 
one of those sudden migrations to which the Barolong had 
been accustomed since the days of Tao. The reverend 
Mr. Ludorf accompanied the fugitives a short distance, 
but after a few days he abandoned them and retired to 
Thaba Ntshu. 

* Any one who may think I am too severe upon the reverend Mr. Ludort 
can easily make himself acquainted with that individual's code of morality by 
referring to the blue-book on the Bloemhoi arbitration. 

VOL. in. 2C 

402 History of South Africa. [1852 

The reverend Roger Edwards, missionary with Moselele's 
Bakatha at Mabotsa, and the reverend Walter Inglis, mis- 
sionary with a Bahurutsi clan under a chief named 
Moiloi, who lived at Matebe, not far from the Kurre- 
chanc of the reverend Mr. Campbell, addressed a letter to 
Commandant Scholtz with reference to the recent proceedings, 
in which they used the following words : " Many of the said 
captive children will probably be taken away and sold to 
other parties in distant places, where their parents may 
never see them more." This letter might have passed 
unnoticed, but about the same time a copy of the Commercial 
Advertiser of the 19th of May 1852 came into possession of 
the republican government. This paper contained a report 
written by the reverend Mr. Edwards to the directors of the 
London society, which had been taken over from the 
Missionary Journal. So far as a description of the Bantu 
goes, this report was one of the most accurate and well- 
written documents of its kind that had then appeared. But 
idle tales and suppositions which had their birth in prejudice 
were recorded in it as if they were facts. The following 
paragraphs will illustrate this, the clauses given here in italics 
being those upon which the government took action. 

" The native mind has of late been much unsettled by 
wars, or rumours of such, and held in suspense and un- 
certainty by the hostile movements of the emigrant boers, 
more especially to the eastward, where their inherent pro- 
pensity for the constrained labour of the coloured man is 
ever seen. They allow the tribes to occupy land where, with 
one or two exceptions, irrigation is impossible from the 
scarcity of water ; and even that favour is granted with the 
understanding that the latter are to supply servants as 
required by an imperative order from the boer officials, 
for ten, fifteen, or twenty men at the shortest notice, and 
without the least reference to the wish, or interest, or 
convenience of the natives. These arbitrary proceedings 
occasion much disquietude, and not unfrequently oppression 
and injustice. If some Power do not interfere , either from 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 403 

policy or humanity, the ruin and slavery of the native tribes 
wiU inevitably follow at no distant period. 

" In the wars made upon the tribes eastward of thi3, the 
emigrants believed they had just cause to take away lives, 
capture cattle, young people, and children for servants or 
slaves, some of whom are sold to others not engaged in those 
wars. Last year a Griqua brought a boy from the northern 
lake and sold him to a boer for a horse. A party of 
the Dutch emigrants have returned from thence last month, 
and also brought a number of children. A horse belonging 
to one of these whites fell into a game-pit and was killed ; 
he demanded people in payment. The chief, fearing his 
wrath, gave him a man, his wife, and daughter. Such is 
the testimony of one who witnessed the transaction." 

It was never supposed that this report would meet the 
eyes of the farmers. Mr. Inglis made the following state- 
ment concerning it : — " This paper, I am sorry to say, was 
given by me to one Murphy, a trader, who came to our 
house at the time the commando had gone out. A blunder 
on my part ; I did not intend to have given it to him. He 
gave it to the boers, and such are the results." 

No government in the position of the South African 
Kepublic could allow such statements as those of Mr. 
Edwards to pass unnoticed. Their having been made in 
the supposition that the persons assailed would never see 
them was an irritating factor in the case. A public trial 
was the best means to test them. On the 20th of November 
1852, therefore, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Inglis also were cited 
to appear before the court of landdrost and heernraden for 
the district of Kustenburg, in which they were residents. 
Mr. Inglis' s account, published in the Friend of the 
Sovereignty, makes it clear that more consideration was 
shown to them than would have been the case if they had 
been on their trial for libel in England. There he would 
probably have been punished for contempt of court had he 
acted as he states he did when on trial at Busten- 

404 History of South Africa. [18^2 

They were both condemned to banishment from the 
republic within fourteen days, and Mr. Edwards in addition 
to pay the costs of his trial, amounting to £7 2s. 6i. If 
any one in South Africa doubted the justice of the sentence. 
Mr. Inglis soon proved that in his case at any rate it was 
judicious. He turned to the press, but his communications 
were so rabid that very shortly newspapers of respectability 
ceased to take notice of him. 

Within ten days after the battle of Berea Moshesh's 
messengers had traversed the country to Zoutpansberg, and 
immediately the effects were visible. Sekwati remembered 
his recent punishment, and kept tolerably quiet, but there 
was hardly another chief in the domains of the republic that 
did not give trouble. From Lydenburg all the way round 
by Makwasi Spruit to the Molopo, cattle-lifting was con- 
ducted on a larger scale than ever before. In many places 
the farmers were obliged to form lagers. In the Marikwa, 
to add to the distress, fever was prevalent. 

In this quarter Montsiwa's Barolong plundered so exten- 
sively that Commandant-General Pretorius was obliged to 
proceed against them. The spoor of stolen cattle having 
been traced to their new kraal, the commando followed it 
up, and found some of the cattle among Montsiwa's herds. 
In a skirmish several farmers were wounded, and a few 
Barolong were killed. Some prisoners were taken, and 
Fieldcornet Paul Kruger was sent with them to Montsiwa 
to invite him to come to the camp and arrange matters 
amicably. Before reaching the place where the chief was 
it grew dark, so Mr. Kruger sent the message by the 
prisoners, who were all released, and he returned with his 
escort to the camp. Next morning it was discovered that 
Montsiwa had tied during the night. The commando 
therefore returned home. 

During the next eight months the Barolong of Montsiwa 
were regarded as rebels, but as they kept out of the way 
no active steps were taken against them. On the 14th of 
October 1853 peace was concluded with them by Fieldcornet 

1852] Events north of the VaaL 405 

Jan Viljoen, acting for the government, and the location 
assigned to them by Messrs. Stander and Scholtz in 
Pecember 1851 again became theirs. Montsiwa, however, 
did not return to Lotlakana, but went to reside in the 
country of the Bangwaketse north of the Molopo. 

The history of the Transvaal emigrants at this time is 
thus largely an account of their dealings with Bantu com- 
munities, and from the number of military expeditions it 
would almost seem as if these people were not in a much 
better position now than they were when Moselekatse lived 
on the Marikwa. But they thought differently themselves, or 
they would not have come out of the desert and the terri- 
tory north of the Limpopo and settled where the farmers 
could easily reach them. That they would have preferred to 
be left entirely to themselves is doubtlessly true, and that 
the labour tax irritated them is unquestionable. But 
if it was right that they should pay anything at all in 
return for the protection afforded to them, the labour tax 
was not altogether unreasonable or oppressive. It was in 
accordance with their own customs, a chief always having 
the right to require his retainers to till his gardens and 
indeed to work for others for his benefit. That it was not 
abhorrent to English ideas might be adduced from the fact 
that as long as Natal was a distinct colony its governor 
in his capacity as supreme chief claimed and exercised the 
power, when he considered it necessary to do so, to require 
the chiefs in the reserves to supply a certain number of men 
for a fixed time at a stated rate of pay, which was below 
the average wage, to perform labour for the benefit of the 
public, such as making or repairing roads. The principle 
was exactly the same as that of the Transvaal government. 

That it did not work smoothly, and that there were 
hardships connected with it, cannot be disputed, as it 
opened the door wide to favouritism. It could hardly be 
expected that a landdrost would always be strictly just in 
his requisitions, or that a chief would not show favour to 
those of his retainers whom he liked and send to labour 

406 History of South Africa. [1852 

again and again those only who had in any way displeased 
him. In so far then the Bantu in the Transvaal territory 
had a grievance, but what made them more dissatisfied with 
the white man's presence in the country than anything else 
was that as a rule the choicest ground was taken by the 
farmers. Here comes the question who had the best moral 
right to it ? The farmer thought he had, but the black man 
who looked on ground that perhaps his grandfather or his 
father had cultivated, and which was then claimed by a 
European, felt something like hatred towards the new owner. 
It was quite natural that he should do so. The Highlander 
in Scotland in olden times had just the same feeling towards 
the Saxon who had supplanted him, and so have people 
similarly situated everywhere. 

This feeling may have had something to do with the 
cattlelifting that was the immediate cause of the action 
taken by the emigrant government against some of the 
Bantu communities. To people in the stage of progress in 
which those Bantu then were theft of cattle is not a crime, 
it is rather a mark of cleverness. Especially if they 
believe that those they steal from are not invincible, they 
plunder without mercy. They cannot resist the temptation. 
Hence the difficulties in which the country was involved, 
which could have been prevented by nothing but a great 
increase in the number of the European inhabitants, so that 
their power would be unassailable. 

Of other grievances, if there were any, none can now 
be traced. In the government of their followers the chiefs 
were not interfered with in the slightest degree, and it 
was only when a white man was a party in a case that a 
landdrost took any notice of it. That some of the vagabonds 
who had taken shelter in the country had injured individual 
blacks or even black communities is highly probable, though 
there are no records of such acts at the time dealt with in 
this chapter. A comparison then between the condition of 
the Bantu north of the Vaal at three different periods, in 
1800, before the wars of Tshaka, in 1830, when Moselekatse 

1852] Events north of the Vaal. 407 

was lord of the country, and in 1852, when the emigrant 
farmers were in occupation of parts of it, would show as 
follows : — 

In 1800 a fairly dense population, divided into tribes 
independent of each other, and frequently at war, slaughter- 
ing weaker men without pity and driving off their cattle, 
but not aiming at the extermination of opponents. The only 
principle acted upon at this time was that the strong 
should enjoy and the weak should submit. A powerful check 
upon the rapid increase in number of the population was 
the loss of life on charges of dealing in witchcraft. A 
large proportion of the people were in the lowest stage of 
slavery, and their lives had little value in the eyes of 
their masters. 

In 1830 a land covered with the skeletons of its 
former inhabitants, a few famished individuals lurking in 
the mountains, and a small number of fugitives either along 
the Caledon, or in the distant north, the Cape Colony, or 
the Kalahari desert. The Matabele settled along the Marikwa, 
and the fugitives no more daring to come within their 
reach than antelopes would dare to graze in the presence of 
lions. Cultivation of the soil no longer carried on, and 
the dread of Moselekatse prevalent as far as his armies 
could march. 

In 1852 the country again settled, though thinly, with 
the descendants of its former occupants, who have returned 
from exile and are occupying extensive areas under the 
protection of the emigrant farmers. The slaves fewer in 
proportion to the whole population than in 1800, but so 
abject and broken in spirit that they submit without an 
attempt at resistance to the domination of their old masters 
as soon as these have settled on locations again. Tendency 
of the emigrant government to raise the slaves to the con- 
dition of their masters, but no active interference on their 
behalf. Taxation of the Bantu by the white people, payment 
in labour, there being no coin in circulation among them. 
An amazingly rapid increase in the number of the Bantu, so 

408 History of South Africa. [1&53 

that a location ample in size for a clan when assigned to 
it ten or fifteen years thereafter was much too small. 
Disaffection among them on account of the restrictions on 
their occupation of land owned by Europeans. 

Before this date the two most prominent leaders of the 
emigrants, Hendrik Potgieter and Andries Pretorius, had 
finished their career. The former died in March, and the 
latter on the 23rd of July 1853. In the preceding year 
he had visited Natal, where he received a hearty welcome* 
At Durban a public dinner was given in his honour by the 
English residents on the 10th of May 1852, and among 
those who promoted it were several who had fought against 
him at the same place ten years before. But now the 
bitter feeling caused by war was forgotten, and nothing 
was spoken of but friendship for the guest and for the 
new independent state in which he was the most prominent 

The death of Mr. Pretorius was an affecting scene. An 
attack of dropsy, for which no medical treatment could be 
obtained, brought his life to a close. For a month he lay 
upon a bed of sickness, where he continued to display those 
admirable qualities which had made him worthy of being 
the hero of the emigrants. He entreated those who 
assembled round his bedside to preserve cordial union 
among themselves after his death, and not to let party 
strife or ambition find a place among them. He recom- 
mended them to give heed to the exhortations of the 
minister, the reverend Dirk van der HofT, who had reached 
the republic from Holland only two months before, and to 
promote morality and civilisation by every means in their 
power. Afterwards, several Bantu chiefs were admitted to 
see him. They had heard of his illness, and had come to 
pay their respects. The relatives of the dying man were 
much affected on seeing these heathen exhibit intense grief 
as they knelt successively and kissed his hand. Everything 
connected with this world having been settled, Pretorius 
devoted his remaining hours to praise and prayer. He 

1852] Events north of the VaaL 409 

expressed perfect resignation to the will of the Almighty, 
and satisfaction at the prospect of being speedily transferred 
to a region where trouble and sorrow are unknown. Then, 
having committed his soul to his Saviour, he calmly breathed 
his last. He died at the age of fifty-four years and eight 


Thirty-eight years later his bones were removed from 
the grave in which they had rested so long, and on the 
13th of May 1891 they were accorded a pompous state 
funeral in Pretoria. 

Mr. Pretorius had been twice married. By his first wife, 
Christina de Wit, he had three sons and five daughters. A 
year after her death he married again, and by his second 
wife, Petronella de Lange, he had three children, two of 
whom died before him. 

Upon the death of Commandant- General Potgieter, the 
volksraad appointed his eldest son his successor. Practically 
his command was limited to the district of Zoutpansberg, 
for the people of Eustenburg and Potchefstroom were nearly 
all adherents of Mr. Pretorius. It had not been considered 
necessary to name a successor to Mr. Enslin when he died. 
The voiksraad met at Eustenburg on the 8th of August 1853, 
and appointed Mr. Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, eldest son of 
the late leader, commandant-general of Eustenburg and 
Potchefstroom. The reverend Dirk van der Hoff held 
service at Eustenburg on this occasion, and before the 
sermon read a letter written by the late commandant- 
general ten days before his death and addressed to the 
officers composing the council of war, invoking God's blessing 
upon them, and advising them to continue steadfast in the 
Christian religion and to watch and pray that no seed of 
discord took root among them. The clergyman did well if his 
own exhortation to the congregation was half as touching. 

The republic was at this time divided into four districts : 
Potchefstroom, Lydenburg, Zoutpansberg, and Eustenburg. 
The volksraad had decided to form a fifth district out of 
portions of Lydenburg and Eustenburg, and to establish in 

410 History of South Africa. [1854 

the centre of the territory a new village to be called Pretoria 
after the late commandant-general. For this purpose Mr. 
M. W. Pretorius had purchased two farms from Messrs. 
Prinsloo and Van der Walt for the sum of £600, and it was 
understood that the volksraad would take them over. They 
were situated on a little stream called the Aapjes river, 
at the base of a range of mountains which, owing to a petty 
chief named Magali having been found near its western 
extremity by the first explorers, has since been known as 
Magalisberg. It was not, however, until a later date that 
this resolution was carried into effect, and the district oi 
Pretoria was formed. 

The supreme authority of the republic was the volksraad. 
The executive consisted of three commandants-general : M. 
W. Pretorius for Potchefstroom and Rustenburg, P. G. 
Potgieter for Zoutpansberg, and W. F. Joubert for Lydenburg ; 
several commandants ; a landdrost in each village, and a 
fieldcornet in each ward. There was no president. The 
nearest approach to a cabinet was the krygsraad, or council 
of war, which each commandant-general could summon for 
consultation. It consisted of the commandants and field- 
cornets of the district. Every burgher was liable to be called 
out for military service, when he was obliged to provide 
his own horse, gun, and food, ammunition alone being fur- 
nished at the public expense. Those who were not called to 
arms were obliged to pay a special commando tax, which was 
levied in such articles as they could furnish, for instance 
a waggon from one, six oxen from another, two bags of 
maize as food for drivers from a third, and so on. Under 
these circumstances war was avoided whenever it could be, 
consistently with maintaining supremacy over the Bantu 
communities that were every year becoming stronger and 
stronger. Taxation was very light, for with a government so 
simple a large revenue was not needed, and could not have 
been raised if it had been. There was very little money in 
the territory, and small as the salaries of the few officials 
were, they were usually in arrear. 

1854] Events north of the Vaal. 411 

The government was admittedly tentative, and already 
it was beginning to be recognised that it could not long 
exist in that form. But in what direction change was 
advisable was not so apparent. It was believed that time would 
show its defects, and that whenever necessary it could be 
adapted to meet the requirements of the people. To out- 
siders its fault seemed to be its excessive weakness. There 
was no police, no means in ordinary matters of enforcing 
observance of the laws, so that an evil-disposed man had 
no check upon his conduct as long as he did not outrage 
public opinion too deeply. From all other parts of South 
Africa fugitive debtors and vagabonds of every type, taking 
advantage of this condition of things, made their way to 
the Transvaal territory, and managed to live there in a 
criminal manner. Fortunately their number was not very 
large, and nearly all of them congregated in the district 
of Zoutpansberg, on the most remote border, so that in the 
other districts very few acts of violence were committed. 

Between the Limpopo and Zambesi rivers the country at 
this time was under the dominion of Sotshangana, Sebetoane, 
and Moselekatse. The first named was master of the land 
from the Indian ocean to the border of the high plateau, 
and kept the descendants of the earlier inhabitants in a 
state of constant fear and poverty. That they lived at all 
was a marvel, for they could not cultivate the ground to 
any extent, as if they had done so the conquerors would 
have been attracted ; and they had very few horned cattle or 
goats left. Always in a half -famishing state, they managed 
to exist, and that was all, by devouring wild plants and 
animal food of every kind, field mice and certain cater- 
pillars being regarded as special dainties. All the attributes 
of manhood had been lost by the wretched creatures, and 
they had become arrant cowards, treacherous, mendacious, 
selfish in the last degree. They had in one respect sunk 

412 History of South Africa. [1854 

even lower than Bushmen, for these are always ready to 
defend their independence at the risk of their lives. 

On the Tshobe and along a considerable extent of the 
southern bank of the Zambesi the Makololo held sway. They 
had formed part of the Mantati horde that destroyed so much 
human life, and after it was broken up had cut their way 
northward to their present home. Their chief, Sebetoane by 
name, was a famous conqueror, but not so utterly ruthless as 
Sotshangana or Moselekatse. His name was destined to be 
made widely known by the great explorer Dr. Livingstone, 
who was at his kraal Linyanti when he died, and who, with 
the assistance of his son Sekeletu, travelled first from 
Linyanti to the shore of the Atlantic, and then from the 
same place to the Indian sea. In the tribe as it then 
was the Bapatsa who were Sebetoane's original followers, 
and who fled with him from the valley of the Caledon, 
held aristocratic rank, the commoners being the various 
peoples conquered, who submitted willingly to masters that 
treated them with a large amount of consideration. 

Moselekatse after his defeat by the emigrant farmers 
fled to the vicinity of the Matopo hills, where he made a 
new home. When he lived on the Marikwa many thousands 
of the earlier inhabitants of the country south of the Limpopo 
fled to the north to be beyond his reach, leaving that 
territory in the almost unpeopled state in which Hendrik 
Potgieter and his associates found it. When he settled at 
the Matopo, these people fled southward again, and caused 
that rapid increase in the population of Zoutpansberg and 
other districts which gave the farmers so much trouble, In 
his new abode Moselekatse pursued the same policy as before. 
His regiments went out and destroyed the Makaranga clans, 
seized whatever they had, and slaughtered all but big boys 
and girls. Many of the boys in course of time from being 
servants to the warriors became soldiers themselves, and 
thus the Matabele were a mixed tribe, comprising the 
original Zulu element which furnished the most reliable 
troops and all the officers, the Betshuana women and soldiers 

1854] Events north of the VadL 413 

incorporated between 1817 and 1837, and the Makaranga 
girls and boys incorporated since 1838. 

In 1853 three brothers named Pieter Jacobus, Jan 
Abraham, and Frans Gerhard Joubert visited Moselekatse in a 
friendly manner, and to their great satisfaction were able 
to conclude an agreement of amity with him, which was after- 
wards faithfully observed on both sides. Under this agree- 
ment they were allowed to hunt in localities named by the 
chief and to purchase ivory from him. Proper precautions 
had, of course, to be used when entering the country, and 
the regulations laid down by the chief had to be strictly 
complied with, for anything like colonisation was prohibited. 
The hunters w r ere not even allowed to take their wives 
into the country with them; Thereafter the ivory of 
Matabeleland found its way to the different villages of the 
republic, and with the ostrich feathers and skins of wild 
animals obtained in the north, aided to increase the 
exports of South Africa. 



North of the Vaal river, for several years after the death 
of Commandant-General Andries Pretorius confusion and 
discord were rife. The exhortation to work together in 
harmony, delivered to the military officers by their ablest 
and most influential leader from his deathbed, was completely 
disregarded. The government was so weak that to many 
persons it must seem a misnomer to call it a government at 
all. Practically it had no revenue, except a trifling sum 
paid as land tax by some of the farmers when they felt so 
disposed. There was no police. Yet there was very little 
crime, and neither person nor property was in danger, except 
from tribes of Bantu. 

On one or two occasions, however, violent party feeling 
caused acts of injustice to be perpetrated by the legal tri- 
bunals. The most prominent case of this kind occurred in 
connection with Mr. J. A. Smellekamp, who was a friend of 
the party under Potgieter's leadership. The volksraad which 
met at Rustenburg in June 1854, consisting chiefly of adhe- 
rents of Pretorius, brought him to trial on a charge of 
having slandered the reverend Dirk van der Hoff and the 
consistory of Potchefstroom, and fined him £37 10s. This 
was followed by his banishment from the republic, in 
pursuance of a sentence of the landdrost of Potchefstroom 
on the 11th of July. Mr. Smellekamp retired to Bloem- 
fontein, where he soon became a leading citizen. 

The white population was increasing, though not very 

rapidly, by fresh arrivals from the Cape Colony. In June 

1855 the volksraad threw open the country to immigrants 


1854J Account of Makapan. 415 

from any part of Europe, on condition that they should 
bring certificates of good character from the government 
under which they had previously lived. They were not to 
be entitled to hold landed property, to fill situations in the 
public service, or to exercise electoral privileges, before 
obtaining burgher rights ; but these they could acquire by 
payment of £15 to the public treasury. Only a few 
individuals from the Netherlands availed themselves of the 
offer, however; for to the vast majority of the people of 
Europe even the existence of the republic was unknown. 

In 1854 an event of a peculiarly horrible nature took 
place in the southern part of the district of Zoutpansberg. 

At the eastern extremity of the Waterberg is a tract of 
rugged country through which flows northward a stream 
termed the Nyl by the first explorers, who in their ignorance 
of geography fancied they had reached the head waters of 
the river of Egypt. In this district the scattered members of 
a clan termed the Batlou, an offshoot of the Barolong 
tribe, that had been dispersed and nearly destroyed by the 
Mantati horde, and had subsequently suffered much from the 
Matabele, had recently collected together again under a 
chief named Makapane*, or Makapan as he was called by 
the farmers. These people had been brutalised by the 
sufferings they had gone through in their old home in the 
south, and as soon as they recovered a little strength in 
the fastnesses of their new abode they commenced to prey 
upon their weaker neighbours. Makapan, their chief, was 
of a ferocious disposition, and had caused such havoc that 
he had acquired among the people of his own race a3 far 
as he was known the designation of the man of blood. 

Towards the close of the winter of 1854 a hunting party, 
at the head of which was Fieldcornet Hermanus Potgieter, 
a brother of the late commandant-general Hendrik Potgieter, 
visited Makapan with a view of trading with him for ivory. 
Laws relating to intercourse between Europeans and blacks, 
enacted by the volksraad during recent years, prohibited 
barter of any kind under penalty of a fine of £37 10s. and 

4 1 6 History of the South African Republic. [1854 

confiscation of all property so obtained. It was illegal even 
to receive a present from a black, except under special 
circumstances, and in such cases information was at once 
to be given to the nearest landdrost. The hunting party- 
was therefore acting in violation of the law of the country, 
the object of which was to prevent any occurrence that 
might provoke a quarrel. 

Hermanus Potgieter was a man of violent temper and 
rough demeanour, and it may be that some expression or 
act of his gave offence to Makapan's people. Stories were 
afterwards set in circulation by unfriendly newspaper cor- 
respondents that the white hunters conducted themselves in 
a most outrageous manner, demanding oxen and sheep for 
slaughter without payment, and forcing the blacks to give 
them several children for slaves. But upon investigation 
these stories are found to rest on conjecture only, and it 
does not seem probable that a few white men would have 
ventured to act in this manner at the kraal of a warlike 

It is easy to irritate Africans, and even to excite them 
to frenzy, by acts that to Europeans appear harmless or 
crimes of no great magnitude. The Gaikas who in 1850 
committed a cruel massacre on the eastern frontier of the 
Gape Colony believe to the present day that it was no 
more than just punishment for the violation of the grave 
of the chief Tshali by some of the Woburn villagers. That 
the majority of those who were murdered were innocent of 
participation in disturbing the grave does not affect the 
case in the Bantu way of thinking; it is sufficient that 
they were associates or friends of those who did it. The 
theory of African law is that the community is responsible 
for the acts of each individual composing it. 

An Englishman unacquainted with the religious ideas of 
the people he was visiting was once at a Matabele kraal, 
and seeing a snake in a tree, he raised his gun to shoot 
it. An old hunter happened fortunately to be close by, 
and struck up the gun just in time. Had that snake been 

1854] Murder of Europeans. 417 

shot, no torture that could be inflicted would have been 
considered by the Matabele sufficient punishment for the 
offender and his companions, because the chief believed that 
the spirit of one of his ancestors was present in the reptile. 
According to their views, the infliction of death would have 
been a just and proper punishment, though white people 
would certainly have regarded it, had it taken place, as 
unprovoked and causeless murder,, 

Many instances of this kind might be mentioned, arising 
from thoughtlessness, disregard of Bantu ideas, or ignorance. 
But whether this was the case with Potgieter's party — 
whether offence was unwittingly given, or whether violent 
language was used or violent conduct displayed — cannot be 
positively stated, for the accounts given by Makapan's 
people are varied and conflicting. The immediate actors 
perished before their evidence could be obtained. 

Thirteen men and ten women and children composed the 
hunting party. Their waggons were outspanned at Maka- 
pan's kraal, and, according to statements made some time 
afterwards by members of the clan, at the chief's invitation 
Potgieter went to look at some ivory which was said to be 
on a neighbouring hill. He had hardly left when the 
Europeans at the waggons were attacked, and all — women 
and children included — were murdered. Potgieter was put 
to death in a shocking manner. From information given by 
the blacks, it was ascertained that he was flayed alive ; and 
his skin, prepared in the same way as that of a wild animal, 
was afterwards made into a kaross. The evidence is con- 
flicting as to certain horrible mutilations of the bodies of 
the others, and it is uncertain whether they took place 
before or after death. There perished on this occasion the 
entire families of Willem Prinsloo and Jan Olivier, in all 
twelve persons, M. A. Venter and his son W. Venter, H. 
Potgieter, and eight other white men. 

Immediately after the massacre Makapan's people were 

joined by six other clans, who commenced to pillage the 

country in their neighbourhood. The white inhabitants of 
vol. in. 2 D 

41 S History of the South African Republic. [1854 

the southern part of the district of Zoutpansberg had barely 
time to take shelter in lagers before their homes were in 
flames. The people of Rustenburg also thought it prudent 
to abandon their farms and retire to lagers, one of which 
was formed in the village and another at the homestead of 
Mr. Paul Kruger, about live miles or eight kilometres 

As soon as the helpless members of the community were 
in positions of safety, Commandant-General P. G. Potgieter 
took the field with a force of one hundred and thirty-five 
men. Marching without delay to the kraal where the 
murders had been committed, at the place which is still 
called Makapan's Poort, he found that the hostile clans had 
taken shelter in caverns where it was impossible to reach 
them. The mangled remains of the victims to the ferocity 
of the barbarians were discovered in various places, and the 
sight of the dismembered bodies caused a fierce resolve to 
be made by the burghers that punishment for the crime 
should be complete. 

The people of Lydenburg could not move from their own 
district, but the burghers of Potchefstroom were called out. 
The church at Potchefstroom was enclosed with an earthen 
bank, and as soon as this simple fortress was completed 
Commandant-General M. W. Pretorius marched by the way 
of Rustenburg, his force increasing as he advanced, so that 
he arrived at Makapan's Poort with four hundred men. 
South of the Vaal very little aid could be given, for it 
behoved everyone there to keep an eye on Moshesh; but a 
quantity of gunpowder was supplied, and a little later Mr. 
A. J. Erwee and a few others proceeded to the assistance of 
Mr. Pretorius with forty-seven horses contributed by the 
people of Bloemfontein. Mr. W. Hartley, Dr. Way, and 
three other Englishmen from Smithfield joined the burgher 

On the 25th of October, the day after the junction of 
the commandos, an attack was made upon a cavern some 
six hundred and ten metres or two thousand feet in length 

1 8s 4] Punishment of Makapan. 419 

by a hundred and twenty to a hundred and fifty metres in 
width, in which Makapan's people had taken shelter. The 
gloom inside was so intense that the burghers could see 
nothing, but from the recesses fire was opened upon them, 
by which one man — Jan Erasmus by name — was killed and 
two others were wounded. It was then determined to 
blockade the place so that no one could get out, and wait 
the results of famine. 

On the 6th of November the two commandants-general 
were standing close to each other in front of the cavern, 
when a musket ball struck Mr. Potgieter in the right 
shoulder, and, passing through his neck, killed him instantly. 
Fieldcornet Paul Kruger ran to the aid of his friend, and 
finding him dead, carried the body away. An attempt to 
smoke the enemy out was made, but failed. The mouth of 
the cavern was then partly blocked up with brushwood and 
stones, and a strong guard was set over it. The remainder 
of the force was sent out under Mr. Paul Kruger and other 
able officers to scour the surrounding country, 

The inmates of the cavern soon felt the want of water, 
and many of them tried to make their way out at night, 
but were shot down in the attempt. It was a cruel deed 
that was being performed, but the burghers were determined 
to make a terrible example of Makapan's people. The 
blockade lasted twenty-five days. Then a party of the 
besiegers entered the cavern, and met with so little resist- 
ance that they took complete possession with only four men 
slightly wounded. They found passages leading from the 
great hall and running away under the mountain to 
unknown distances, but the horrible stench from the 
putrifying bodies and the difficulty of exploring with the 
dim lights which they carried prevented them from 
proceeding far. 

Mr. Pretorius estimated that nine hundred persons had 
been killed outside the cavern, and more than double that 
number had perished of thirst within it. Makapan's clan 
was almost annihilated. 

420 History of the South African Republic. [1854 

The horse sickness, which is prevalent in that district 
during the summer, was making such havoc that the 
commando could not keep the field any longer. The other 
clans which had risen could not therefore be attacked, but it 
was believed that the punishment inflicted on Makapan 
would deter them from committing any acts of violence 
against Europeans for a long time to come. On the 30th of 
November the camps were broken up, and the burghers 
returned to their farms. 

Upon the death of Mr. P. G. Potgieter, Mr. Stephanus 
Schoeman was appointed commandant-general of Zoutpans- 
berg. There were then north of the Vaal three commandants- 
general — M. W. Pretorius, W. F. Joubert, and S. Schoeman 
— each of whom was jealous of the power of the others. 
Their partisans were continually carrying on a strife of 

But this was as nothing when compared with the eccle- 
siastical discord. The country was convulsed with a question 
that to persons at a distance must appear utterly unimpor- 
tant: whether the church of the republic should be con- 
nected with the synod of the Cape Colony, or not. Many 
of the burghers, however, believed that their independence 
might be affected by it. They asserted that Sir Harry 
Smith had once said that if he could not conquer them with 
the sword, he would do it with the word, meaning thereby 
the influence of colonial clergymen, and they wished there- 
fore to be as little connected with any institution in the 
Cape Colony as possible. A visit of the reverend Messrs. 
Neethling and Louw, two clergymen who had been deputed 
by the Cape synod to visit the country and conduct services, 
was held by this party to be uncalled-for interference, as 
they had not asked for aid of this kind and were not in 
need of it. There was only one clergyman to minister to 
the whole people, but there was a consistory in each 
district, and it was maintained by some that the elders of 
these could combine and constitute a synod, if they chose 
to do so. 

1 85 4] Ecclesiastical Strife. 421 

The strife commenced at a church meeting which took 
place at Rustenburg on the 8th of August 1853, and which 
was presided over by the reverend Dirk van der Hoff. This 
meeting resolved that no religious community other than 
the Dutch Reformed church should be tolerated or allowed 
to build places of worship within the republic ; that the 
church in the republic should be independent of the synod 
of the Cape Colony ; and that every male over twenty years 
of age and every female over sixteen should pay three 
shillings yearly towards its support. 

These resolutions were discussed by every household in the 
country. Liberal-minded men were strongly opposed to the 
first, but there were not wanting many who as strongly 
supported it. Yet so inconsistent were these that they 
declared themselves ready to welcome Moravian and Lutheran 
missionaries among the heathen. There was no objection to 
the third resolution. But the second was a question which 
divided the people into two factions, and which was discussed 
with as much bitterness in 1857 as four years earlier. This 
ecclesiastical dispute brought on a change in the political 
condition of the country. 

Before 1857 the people north of the Vaal had no formal 
and clearly worded constitution such as that which had 
been framed by the first volksraad of the Orange Free 
State. Those under the leadership formerly of Potgieter, now 
of Joubert and Schoeman, considered themselves bound by a 
code of laws usually termed The Thirty-three Articles, 
which had been drawn up and adopted by the volksraad at 
Potchefstroom on the 9th of April 1844, shortly before the 
removal of that party to the districts of Lydenburg and 
Zoutpansberg. In this code stringent laws and simple 
regulations of court are intermingled as if they were of 
equal weight, and there is no literary taste displayed in its 
composition ; but it bears evidence of sound common sense 

By an assembly of delegates of the different parties 
north of the Vaal, which met at Derde Poort on the 23rd of 

422 History of the South African Republic. [1855 

May 1849 and agreed upon union, this code was adopted and 
termed a constitution ; but in point of fact the arrangement 
then made did not lead to consolidation, so that the majority 
of the people of Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, and Pretoria — a 
new town and district established in November 1855 and 
named after the late commandant - general — practically 
accepted no more of the thirty-three articles than pleased 
them. These considered the enactments of the volksraad in 
Natal, made before their removal from that country, as 
binding upon them still ; while the people of Lydenburg and 
Zoutpansberg repudiated such enactments. 

The partisans of Mr. Pretorius, or, in other words, those 
who were in favour of a strong central government, had for 
some time past been discussing the advisability of adopting 
a constitution like that of the Free State. The other party, 
or those who favoured a number of district governments 
allied rather than cemented together, brought forward many 
objections to this project. The party lines of difference of 
opinion in ecclesiastical matters coincided with those of 
difference of opinion in political matters, so that the division 
was very clear and distinct. One side was in favour of a 
single government with subordinate district courts of law 
and a church independent of foreign control, the other side 
favoured district legislative councils allied for purposes of 
defence and a church connected with the Cape synod. 

In 1855 the volksraad met in session at Elands River, and 
a petition was presented asking for the appointment of a 
committee to draft a new constitution. The adherents of 
Mr. Pretorius being in a majority, this was agreed to, and a 
committee of three members was appointed for the purpose, 
one of whom was Mr. Paul Kruger. In every important 
event in the history of the country this determined, 
courageous, and highly intelligent, but illiterate man was 
an actor, even to the framing of the constitution, though he 
was as ignorant of jurisprudence as a little child. 

An educated Hollander named Jacobus Stuart, who was 
visiting the country in the interests of a trading association, 

1856] Adoption of a Constitution. 423 

was appointed secretary to the committee, and he drew up 
the resolutions of the members in correct language and 
arranged them in order. Then Mr. Pretorius made a tour 
through the districts of Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, and 
Pretoria, and submitted the draft to meetings of the burghers 
at all the centres of population. It was generally well 
received, so immediately afterwards a representative assembly 
of twenty-four members, one for each fieldcornetcy, was 
elected for the special purpose of adopting it with any 
modifications that might be considered advisable, and of 
appointing the officials that were to form the new executive 
branch of the government. It had no other powers. 

The assembly met at Potchefstroom on the 16th of December 
1856, and during a session of nearly three weeks made 
several changes in the original draft. As finally adopted, 
the constitution provided that the country should be termed 
the South African Republic, dropping the words " north of 
the Vaal river," which had been added to that title by a 
resolution of the volksraad on the 21st of November 1853, 
when the territory to the south was still part of the British 
dominions. Now that there was some hope of the people of 
the Orange Free State being induced to unite with those 
north of the Vaal, it was regarded as expedient to omit 
the limiting part of the former name. 

The legislative authority was vested in a council to be 
termed a volksraad, which should meet at least once a year 
The members of this council were to be elected by the 
people, and hold their seats for two years. They were to 
be over thirty years of age, electors of three years standing, 
and members of the Dutch Reformed church. They were to 
be owners of landed property within the republic, and never 
have been convicted of crime. Father and son, brothers and 
half-brothers, could not be members at the same time. They 
were to be of European blood. At the end of twelve 
months half the members first chosen were to retire, the 
names to be selected by lot ; and fresh elections were then 
to take place, so that thereafter half would retire yearly 

424 History of the South African Republic. [1857 

in regular order. Twelve members were to form a quorum. 
The ordinary sessions were to commence on the first Friday 
of every September. 

The administrative authority was to be entrusted to a 
president, who was to be advised by an executive council. 
The president was to be chosen by the people, and was to 
hold office for five years. The qualifications of this officer 
were that he should be an elector of five years standing, a 
member of the Dutch Reformed church, never have been 
convicted of crime, and over thirty years of age. All public 
servants were to be subject to his authority, except in the 
administration of justice. While president, he could not 
hold another office or engage in trade, neither could he 
leave the republic without permission from the volksraad. 
The volksraad could deprive him of office after trial and 
conviction of serious crime, when the oldest member of 
the executive council was to act until a new election. 

The executive council was to consist of the president, the 
government secretary, and two burghers who were to be 
appointed by the volksraad. All were to have a right of 
debate in the volksraad, but not a right to vote. 

All measures proposed to be brought before the volks- 
raad by the executive branch of the government were to be 
published three months before the commencement of the 
session, in order that the burghers might have an opportunity 
to discuss them and make their wishes known. 

There was to be only one commandant - general for the 
whole republic, who was to be purely a military officer, and 
receive his instructions from the president in time of war. 
He was to be elected by those burghers who were capable of 
bearing arms and liable to military service. He was to have 
a right of debate in the volksraad, but not a vote. He was 
to have a seat in the executive council whenever matters 
relating to war were discussed. 

The republic was to be divided into fieldcornetcies, each 
to consist of sixty to one hundred and twenty households. 
Every group of six fieldcornetcies was to have a commandant. 

1857] Adoption of a Constitution. 425 

The republic was also to be divided into convenient dis- 
tricts for judicial and fiscal purposes. Each district was to 
have a landdrost and board of heemraden, who were to be 
elected by the people. 

The revenue was to be derived from profits on the sale 
of ammunition — which for the sake of safety was to be a 
monopoly of the government,* — from licenses, transfer dues, 
fines and fees of court, a tax of Is. yearly on every fifty head 
of horned cattle, and land tax at the rate of 7s. Qd. to 30s. 
on each farm, according to quality. Absentee landholders 
were to pay double taxes. 

The boundaries of the republic were not defined. Potchef- 
stroom was to be the seat of government. 

In ecclesiastical matters, the constitution declared that 
it was the desire of the people to preserve the religious 
teaching of the Dutch Reformed church, as this was defined 
in the years 1618 and 1619 by the synod at Dordrecht. The 
people preferred to allow no Romish churches among them, 
nor any other Protestant churches than those in which the 
same principles of religion were taught as are set forth in 
the Heidelberg catechism. No other ecclesiastical authorities 
would be recognised than the consistories of the Dutch 
Reformed church. It was desirable that the gospel should 
be taught to the heathen ; but under such precautions as 
would prevent them from being misled or deceived. No 
equality of coloured people with the white inhabitants would 
be tolerated, either in church or state. 

The press was declared free. Slavery was prohibited. 

* This was enacted in order to keep the Bantu tribes from acquiring 
munitions of war. On the 19th of September 1853 a law was passed by 
the volksraad forbidding the sale of guns or ammunition to blacks 
under penalty of confiscation of all property in possession of offenders 
and in extreme cases of death, but it had not been effectual in stopping 
the trade. It was hoped that by making the sale of ammunition a 
government monopoly and by compelling hunters from the south to 
make use of the eastern roads only, this might be accomplished. Any 
one who reads Mr. Gordon Cumming's book will admit that such an 
enactment was necessary to prevent constant war with the Bantu. 

426 History of the South African Republic. [1857 

The constitution provided that no treaty or alliance could 
be concluded with foreign powers, except after the people of 
the republic had been called together by the president and 
the executive council, when the arrangement proposed could 
be approved of or rejected by a majority of those who should 
attend With this exception, that in time of great danger 
or war the president, with the consent of a council composed 
of all the military officers, could form a treaty or alliance 
with a foreign power. 

The salaries of public servants were stated in the consti- 
tution. The president was to be paid £300 a year, which 
was to be increased to £400 when the condition of the 
revenue would permit it. The clergyman was to be paid 
£225, the commandant-general £200, the state secretary and 
the landdrost of Potchefstroom each £150, the landdrosts of 
the other districts each £100, the members of the executive 
council and the clerk to the landdrost of Potchefstroom each 
£75, the clerks to the other landdrosts each £45, the 
commandants each £20, and the fieldcornets each £15 a 

On the 5th of January 1857 the representative assembly 
by twenty-one votes against three chose the following 
officers : — 

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius to be president of the 

Jan Hendrik Visagie to be state secretary and ex officio 
member of the executive council. 

H. S. Lombard and M, A. Goetz to be members of the 
executive council. 

D. Botha to be landdrost of Potchefstroom. 

Stephanus Schoeman to be commandant-general. This ap- 
pointment was made with the express object of conciliating 
the Zoutpansberg people. 

The representative assembly appointed a committee of 
twelve to instal the newly appointed officers and issue writs 
for the election of a volksraad under the constitution just 
adopted. It chose a new flag : the Batavian tricolour — three 

1857] Secession of Zoutpansberg and Lydenburg. 427 

horizontal bars, red upper, white central, and blue lower — 
with a green vertical stripe at the inner end. The 
representative assembly then declared its labours completed. 

On the 6th of January the president, the members of the 
executive council, and the landdrost took the oaths of office 
and were installed by the committee with much ceremony. 
The new flag was raised and saluted, after a blessing had 
been invoked upon it by the reverend Mr. Van der HofF. 

When intelligence of these proceedings reached Zoutpans- 
berg and Lydenburg there was a violent outburst of 
indignation. At a public meeting at Zoutpansberg, held on 
the 29th of January, the acts and resolutions of the repre- 
sentative assembly at Potchefstroom were almost unanimously 
repudiated. Mr. Schoeman declined to accept office under Mr. 
Pretorius. A manifesto was drawn up and signed by S. 
Schoeman, A. C. Duvenhage, landdrost of Zoutpansberg, 
Commandant J. H. Jacobs, and seven others, disowning the 
new constitution and everything connected with it. 

On the 17th of February the committee appointed by 
the representative assembly instructed Messrs. Pretorius and 
Goetz to proceed to Bloemfontein and arrange matters there. 
President Boshof had published the draft of a bill concerning 
burgher rights, which was to be brought before the Free 
State volksraad, and the Transvaal people professed to 
believe that it would affect them adversely. The real object 
of the mission of Messrs. Pretorius and Goetz to the Free 
State was to endeavour to bring about the union of the two 
countries. It was hoped that those farmers south of the 
Vaal who were in favour of a single republic would welcome 
Mr. Pretorius, and that they would prove to be the great 
majority of the people. 

During the absence of Mr. Pretorius, Mr. H. S. Lombard 
acted as president. With the concurrence of the other 
members of the executive council and of the committee 
appointed by the representative assembly, on the 18th of 
February he issued a proclamation deposing Commandant- 
General Schoeman from all authority, declaring Zoutpansberg 

428 History of the South African Republic. [1856 

in a state of blockade, and prohibiting traders from supplying 
" the rebels " with ammunition or anything else. 

The volksraad under the old system of government was to 
have met at Lydenburg on the 1 7th of December 1856. At 
the appointed time, however, no members for the other 
districts appeared. What was transpiring at Potchefstroom 
was well known, and a resolution was therefore adopted 
declaring the district a sovereign and independent state, 
under the name of the Republic of Lydenburg. The volksraad 
was pronounced to be the highest authority. The boundaries 
of the new republic were declared to be: on the north the 
Olifants river and a straight line from the great curve in 
that stream to the southern end of Waterberg ; on the west 
a line from the southern end of Waterberg to the Eland's 
river, that river to its source, thence the high lands to the 
source of the Olifants river, and thence a straight line due 
south to the Vaal ; on the south the Vaal and the northern 
boundary of Natal to Panda's country. On the east the 
boundary was not defined otherwise than that the republic 
was declared to include the district of Utrecht and the land 
purchased on the 25th of July 1846 and 21st of July 1855 
by W. F. Joubert and others from Swazi the son of 

* The last of these transactions will be referred to in another chapter. 
The first, or purchase of the 25th of July 1846, conveyed to W. F. 
Joubert, J. van Rensburg, L. de Jager, and five others, for the emigrant 
farmers, the territory between the Olifants river on the north, the 
Crocodile river on the south, the Eland's river on the west, and a line 
forming the Portuguese boundary and passing through the junction of the 
Crocodile and Komati rivers on the east. The price paid was one hundred 
head of horned cattle, and the seller was Swazi, son of Sapusa, chief of the 
powerful coast tribe now called by his name. The emigrant farmers held 
that the deed of sale was a good title, because the Swazis had once overrun 
the district and offered when disposing of the ground to clear it of every 
individual of the Bapedi and kindred tribes. But the Swazis were not then 
in occupation of it, and Manikusa or Moselekatse could have set up 
exactly the same claim. The true title under which the Europeans held the 
district was the fact of beneficial occupation, of possession taken at a time 
when it was war-swept and the Bapedi and other former owners were so 
scattered and wasted as to have lost the power of holding it against the 

l8 57] Union of Utrecht and Lydenburg. 429 

It was resolved to invite Zoutpansberg to join Lydenburg. 
To the invitation Commandant-General Schoeman replied 
that deputies would be sent from Zoutpansberg to discuss a 
basis of union as soon as matters became more settled, as it 
was the desire of the people of his district to preserve 
their connection with Lydenburg. 

The boundaries declared by the volksraad of Lydenburg 
included the district of Utrecht, whose inhabitants had 
previously claimed to be independent of all authority not 
emanating from themselves. This district bordered on Zulu- 
land and Natal. Possession of it had been taken in 1848, 
with Panda's consent, by a party of farmers who moved 
from the uplands between the Tugela and Buffalo rivers, 
in order to be free of British rule. The few hundred 
Europeans who occupied it were without a resident 
clergyman, but in 1854 a consistory had been formed, and 
after that date the minister of Ladismith, in Natal, acted 
as consulent and held services every three months. Between 
the people of Utrecht and those of Lydenburg there was 
strong sympathy, both in ecclesiastical and political matters. 
Negotiations for union were shortly commenced, and were 
concluded on the 8th of May 1858, when the two states 
became one. 

In March 1857 the volksraad of Lydenburg issued a 
manifesto repeating the declaration of independence, and 
inviting Europeans of all nationalities to settle in the 
country, offering them full political privileges and land for 

Within the boundaries of this republic was the territory 
occupied by the Bapedi* tribe under the chief Sekwati, who 

tribes of the coast. Swazi's object was to make friends of the conquerors 
of Dingan, and he must have regarded the hundred head of cattle as a mere 

* Bapedi, Baperi, or Bapeli, the d, r, and 1 being interchangeable, some 
clans using one, some another of these letters. The tribe, like so many 
others in South Africa, was composite, but most of its members were of 
the Bakwena family. It derived its title from a chief named Moperi, 
Mopedi, or Mopeli, and the majority of its members had as siboko the 
porcupine, not the hyena as the title seems to denote. 

43° History of the South African Republic. [1857 

had submitted to Commandant-General Hendrik Potgieter 
in 1846, but had successfully resisted an attempt to disarm 
his people in 1852. The government of Lydenburg sent 
Messrs. C. T. van Niekerk and F. C. Combrink as a 
commission to confer with him upon the extent of the 
reserve within which he would be permitted to exercise 
authority, and on the 17th of November 1857 an arrangement 
was made that he should have the district between the 
Olifants and Steelpoort rivers. He promised to restore stolen 
cattle brought within this reserve and to punish thieves. 
This agreement, which was drawn up in writing and con- 
firmed by President P. J. Coetzer and the executive council 
of the republic of Lydenburg on the 9th of the following 
December, placed Sekwati in a similar position to that 
occupied by a powerful baron in England in feudal times. 

Messrs. Pretorius and Goetz, with a retinue of ten Transvaal 
farmers and forty Free State citizens who had joined them on 
the way, arrived at Bloemfontein on the 22nd of February 
1857. The following day was the third anniversary of the 
Orange Free State's independence, and the volksraad, which 
was then in session, had adopted a programme for its celebra- 
tion. This included a procession from the council chamber to 
the fort, where a flag designed by King William III of the 
Netherlands, and adopted by the volksraad on the 28th of 
February 1856, was to be formally hoisted and saluted, and a 
coat of arms was to be suspended above the chair of the pre- 
siding officer in the council. The flag had four white and three 
orange horizontal stripes, alternately placed, with the Batavian 
tricolour in the upper corner next the staff, all the stripes being 
of the same width. A coat of arms designed by the king could 
not be adopted, because one had already been engraved and 
used as a public seal. This had upon it an orange tree with 
the word Vrijheid (liberty) above it, some sheep beneath it on 
one side with the word Geduld (patience) below and a lion on 
the other with the word Moed (courage) similarly placed ; at 
the bottom was a waggon with the word Immigratie (immigra- 
tion) beneath it. This being already in use was retained, but 

1857] Discord between the Republics. 431 

three hunting horns on the coat of arms designed by the king 
of Holland — ancient badges of the house of Orange — were 
added to it by resolution of the volksraad on the 28th of 
February 1856, and were placed on the outer side, two above 
and one below. 

Though no official notice of the visit of Messrs. Pretorius 
and Goetz had been made to the government, these gentlemen 
were invited to accompany the procession from the council 
chamber to the fort and be present at the ceremony of hoisting 
the national flag for the first time. Mr. Pretorius declined to 
do so, as such an act would interfere with his views. 

On the 24th there was a sharp altercation between the 
volksraad and the Transvaal officers. It transpired that Mr. 
Pretorius had sent a message to Moshesh, inviting the chief 
to a conference at Bloemfontein ; and, as being the heir of 
Commandant-General Andries Pretorius, he made pretensions 
to authority in the state, which could not be admitted. On 
the 25th the volksraad issued a proclamation repudiating the 
claims of Mr. Pretorius, and twenty-four hours were allowed 
to him and Mr. Goetz to leave Bloemfontein. The Transvaal 
officers then proceeded to Natal, but the advocates of union 
continued the agitation. Some of them were therefore called 
to account for sedition. 

On the 7th of March the committee appointed by the 
representative assembly, calling itself a "commissie volks- 
raad," met at Potchefstroom. The Free State government 
sent a messenger to request the committee to disown the 
proceedings of Mr. Pretorius, but that body replied approv- 
ing of them. Acting President Lombard's proclamation 
deposing Mr. Schoeman from the office of commandant- 
general was ratified, and Mr. J. F. Dreyer was appointed 
in his stead. 

On the 15th of April the new commandant-general and 
the council of war addressed a letter to the authorities at 
Bloemfontein, announcing that if the charge of sedition was 
pressed against the partisans of Mr. Pretorius, they would 
call out an armed force and march to the protection of the 

43 2 History of the South African Republic. [1857 

persons prosecuted. The Free State government had de- 
tained five hundred and forty-four kilogrammes of lead 
which was in transit, and this was declared a hostile act. 

Eight days after the letter was written, the threat which 
it contained was put into execution. An armed but not 
very formidable force crossed the "Vaal and entered the 
district of Winburg, where it was joined by a number of 
advocates of union. The leaders of this party in the Free 
State were Messrs. Carel Frederik Geere and Hendrik 
Erasmus. Mr. Pretorius hastened to put himself at the 
head of the commando. 

When intelligence of the invasion reached Bloemfontein, 
President Boshof issued a proclamation declaring martial 
law in force throughout the Free State, and calling out 
the burghers for the defence of the country. It soon ap- 
peared that the majority of the people were ready to sup- 
port the president, and from all quarters men repaired to 
Kroonstad, a village recently laid out on the False river, 
where a camp was being formed. President Boshof himself 
was there. Commandant-General Schoeman, of Zoutpans- 
berg, sent a messenger to propose an alliance against Mr. 
Pretorius, in which object he believed Lydenburg would 
also join. He stated that he could muster from eight 
hundred to a thousand men. 

From Kroonstad the Free State forces marched to a 
camp near the Vaal, where there were assembled, under 
Commandant-General Frederik Senekal, four commandants, 
twenty-four fieldcornets, and six hundred and eighty-five 
burghers, also twenty-one armed and one hundred and sixty- 
three unarmed blacks. 

Mr. Pretorius caused his followers, numbering from two 
hundred and fifty to three hundred men, to encamp on two 
hills on the southern side of the Vaal. His partisans in the 
Free State did not come to his aid in such numbers as he 
anticipated, and he had the mortification of learning that 
Carel Geere and five others who were foremost in maintaining 
his cause had been arrested and were prisoners in President 

1857] Treaty between the Republics. 433 

Boshof s camp ; and further that Commandant- General 
Schoeman, of Zoutpansberg, and Commandant- General 
Joubert, of Lydenburg, were ready to join the Free State 
against him. 

On the 25th of May the two commandos were drawn up 
facing each other on opposite banks of the Bhenoster 
river, and remained in that position for three hours. On 
both sides there was great aversion to a combat, for there 
were literally brothers, cousins, and other near relatives 
under the opposing standards. The northern army could 
not hope for success, and so Mr. Pretorius sent Commandant 
Paul Kruger with a flag of truce to propose that a pacific 
settlement should be made. This was gladly acceded to, 
and twelve deputies were thereupon appointed on each side 
to arrange the conditions of peace. 

On the 27th of May the army of Mr. Pretorius recrossed 
the Vaal, and the negotiations were commenced. On the 
2nd of June a formal treaty was signed. Translated into 
English it was as follows : 

1. The deputies of the Orange Free State, in the name 
of the government of the said state, acknowledge the South 
African Eepublic to the north of the Vaal river to 
be free and independent, as well as the right of its 
inhabitants to establish such government within the same 
as they shall think proper. 

2. The deputies of the South African Eepublic, in 
the name of its people and government, acknowledge the 
Orange Free State, within its boundaries as they existed 
under the administration of the British government, as 
free and independent, and also the right of its inhabi- 
tants to establish such government therein as they shall 
think proper. 

8. The deputies above mentioned acknowledge the right 
of both states to make their own laws, both ecclesiastical 
and political, and to carry them out within their respective 
limits, in the same manner as is universally practised and 
recognised among all civilised and independent countries. 


434 History of the South African Republic. [1857 

4. The deputies of the Orange Free State desire from 
the deputies of the South African Eepublic, in the name 
of its government, a declaration that the attempt made 
by their president, his Honour Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, 
to ignore, render powerless, and annul the existing authority 
of the Orange Free State, and excite rebellion against 
the existing government on the part of its own lawful 
subjects, is an illegal and blameworthy deed, and a 
promise that the same will never again be permitted 
or supported on the side of the government of the South 
African Eepublic ; acknowledging the right of every people, 
in the event of such intermeddling, to demand proper 
satisfaction, and in case of refusal to compel the aggressor 
thereto by force of arms. The deputies of the South 
African Eepublic acknowledge that they can find nothing 
in the documents laid before them which gives a claim 
to the lands of the Orange Free State, or the right to 
interfere in the government ; and if they find that the 
criminatory documents laid before them cannot be refuted 
by sufficient proofs (which may by possibility exist, 
but of which they are at this moment unaware), they are 
compelled to regard the conduct of their government as 
blameworthy. They at the same time fully guarantee^ as 
previously acknowledged, that they neither can nor will 
make any claim to the Orange Free State, and conse- 
quently that they will not allow such at any time to be 

5. On the ratification of this treaty of peace, the 
deputies promise, in the name of the government of the 
Orange Free State, to exert their influence with the 
commandants Schoeman and Joubert, to induce them to 
lay down the arms which they have probably already taken 
up against the government of the South African Eepublic ; 
and the deputies of the South African Eepublic declare 
themselves on their side disposed to conclude such terms 
with Messrs. Schoeman and Joubert as shall be calculated 
tp effect and consolidate peace between them. 

1857] Treaty between the Republics. 435 

6. The deputies of both states promise to act with the 
greatest indulgence in the punishment of seditious persons, 
after a proper inquiry into their offences before the courts 
of both states. The deputies of the South African Ee- 
public further promise to exert their influence with such 
inhabitants of the Free State as may have already taken up 
arms against their state, to cause them to lay them down. 

7. The deputies of the Orange Free State promise, 
in the name of the government of said state, to grant 
and extend within their state the same rights and privi- 
leges to the burghers and subjects of the South African 
Eepublic as are or shall be afforded to those of the 
colonies of the Cape of Good Hope and Natal, and no more ; 
provided that such rights and privileges be also reciprocally 
granted and extended by the South African Eepublic to 
the Free State. 

8. The deputies of both states are agreed that the 
president or chief administrative head of each state shall 
not have the right to visit the state or territory of 
the other without previous notice being given. 

9. The property which has been thus far seized since 
the commencement of hostilities shall be delivered up. 

10. The foregoing articles having been agreed to by 
the deputies on both sides, peace is hereby concluded 
and established between the South African Eepublic to the 
north of the Vaal river and the Orange Free State. 
On behalf of the Orange Free State : 

J. J. Venter, 

Members of the Volksraad. 

H. J. Joubert, 
J. J. Klopper, 
F. P. Schnehage, 

E. Brouwer, J 

F. J. Senekal, Gommandant-General, 
Michiel van der Walt, Commandant, 
L. J. Papenfus, Fieldcornet, 

A. J. Bester, Fieldcornet, 

D. B. Grobbelaar, Fieldcornet^ 

436 History of the South African Republic. [1857 

C. J. du Plooy, Justice of the Peace, 
L. van Foreest, Secretary. 
On behalf of the South African Eepublic : 
J. F. Dreyer, Commandant -General, 
S. J. P. Kruger, Commandant, 
J. P. Pretorius, Commandant, 
M. J. Viljoen, Commandant, 
J. H. M. Struben, Commandant, 

C. J. Bodenstein, Fieldcornet, 
J. H. Nel, Fieldcornet, 

D. H. Botha, Landdrost, 
J. H. Grobbelaar, 

J. C. van der Merwe, 

D. A. Botha, 

H. S. Lombard, 

J. H. Visagie, Secretary. 
Approved and confirmed by the Executive Council at the 
camp at Vaal Kiver, 1st June 1857. 

M. W. Pretorius, President, 

H. S. Lombard, Member of the Executive Council. 
Approved and confirmed at the Vaal river, Orange Free 
State, the 1st of June 1857, by the Executive Council. 

J. N. Boshof, State President and Chairman, 

J. J. Venter, j ,, , 
_ T T . , > Members. 
H. J. Joubert, ) 

On the 4th of June the Free State burghers were disbanded 
at Kroonstad. 

Many citizens of the Free State who had joined the 
northern forces moved over the Vaal after this event. 
They were chiefly from the districts of Winburg and 
Harrismith, and belonged to the political party that in 
earlier years was most opposed to British authority. Their 
object in uniting with the adherents of Mr. Pretorius 
on this occasion was to restore the condition of things 
that existed when the district of Winburg was united 
with Potchefstroom under one government, before the pro- 
clamation of British sovereignty by Sir Harry Smith. 

1857] Negotiations with Zoutpansberg. 437 

The members of this party who did not now remove of their 
own accord together with those who had previously been 
arrested were brought to trial for high treason. Carel 
Geere was sentenced to death, but in accordance with the 
sixth clause of the treaty, this sentence was mitigated 
to a fine of £150. A good many others were fined from 
£25 to £150 each. In September Messrs. S. J. P. Kruger 
and J. C. Steyn visited Bloemfontein as a deputation from 
the government of the South African Eepublic, charged 
principally to endeavour to obtain a mitigation of these 
sentences, and in this they were successful. 

Successive migrations of the most turbulent of the 
inhabitants had brought about a distinction between the 
people south of the Vaal and those north of that river, 
and such lawless acts as were sometimes perpetrated in 
Zoutpansberg, where desperadoes were wont to assemble, 
would have been immediately checked in the Free State. 
In that distant locality men who chose to live as bar- 
barians found a shelter, for there were no police to appre- 
hend them, and the better class of farmers, who disapproved 
of their conduct, somehow failed to combine and rid the 
country of them, possibly because they were not molested 
themselves. Most of the ruffians professed to be hunters, 
but were in reality little better than robbers. They 
were of various nationalities, and drifted to Zoutpansberg 
from all parts of South Africa, some even from Delagoa 
Bay. As yet they were not so numerous as they became a 
few years later, when they brought destruction upon the 
district by their misdeeds, but they were in sufficient force 
to give a great deal of trouble to Mr. Schoeman and 
his adherents. They kept in secluded localities, and 
mixed freely with the Bavenda, who learned from them 
to add European vices to their own. 

Immediately after the conclusion of peace with the 
Free State an attempt was made by the government of 
the South African Bepublic to effect a reconciliation with 
Zoutpansberg. On the 1st of July six deputies from each 

438 History of the South African Republic. [1857 

side met at Rietfontein near the new village of Pretoria, 
and agreed that all matters in dispute between them should 
be submitted to the decision of a court of twelve in- 
dividuals chosen by the whole inhabitants, which court should 
sit for the purpose at Rustenburg on the 9th of November. 

On the 4th of September the volksraad met at Potchef- 
stroom. It consisted of fifteen members. It ratified the 
acts of the representative assembly in framing the con- 
stitution and appointing a president, and it confirmed 
the treaty with the Orange Free State. On the 11th it 
resolved to send a deputation to Rustenburg on the 9th 
of November, and expressed an earnest wish for reconcilia- 
tion with Zoutpansberg. There had hitherto been no print- 
ing press north of the Vaal. Provision was now made for 
the publication of a Gazette to contain new laws, government 
notices, and other matter with which the people, and more 
particularly the officials, should be acquainted. The last 
subjects that came on for debate were the supply of ammuni- 
tion to Setsheli, chief of the Bakwena, and the introduction 
of German missionaries. 

Some time before this, Setsheli had appeared before 
President Pretorius, and had asked to be supplied with 
a missionary and with ammunition to kill game. Since the 
destruction of Kolobeng he had given no trouble to the 
republic, though he had returned to Bantu customs after 
Dr. Livingstone's influence was broken. His frank conduct 
succeeded with the president, who, on the 9th of April 
1857, wrote to the director of the nearest Moravian mission 
asking that the chief's request might be complied with. 
The Moravians were favoured by the farmers, because in 
addition to giving religious instruction they taught their 
pupils to be industrious and cleanly in their habits, and 
did not encourage ideas of social equality with civilised 
people. The idea that a converted black man should be 
regarded as in every respect the peer of his white neigh- 
bours was so objectionable to the Europeans in the South 
African Republic that they provided in their constitution 

1857] System of Apprenticeship, 439 

against its toleration in any way. There was no Moravian 
missionary available, but a Lutheran of the Hanoverian 
mission was procured, and he had gone to reside with the 
Bakwena. The report as to his teaching was eminently 
satisfactory. He was instructing the black people in the 
truths of Christianity, and was setting them an excellent 
example in industry, which he was trying to persuade 
them to follow, but was not instilling in their minds 
the pernicious doctrine that they were in every way the 
peers of Europeans. The volksraad therefore resolved that 
the government might supply Setsheli with sufficient 
ammunition for hunting purposes, and that the Hanoverian 
mission society should be at liberty to establish its 
agents with other tribes in the republic. 

At this time complaints were beginning to be heard 
that the practice of transferring apprentices, or selling 
indentures, was becoming frequent. It was rumoured also 
that several lawless individuals were engaged in obtaining 
black children from neighbouring tribes, and disposing of 
them under the name of apprentices. How many such cases 
occurred cannot be stated with any pretension to accuracy, 
but the number was not great. The condition of the country 
made it almost impossible to detain any one capable of 
performing service longer than he chose to remain with a 
white master, so that even if the farmers in general had 
been inclined to become slaveholders, they could not carry 
such inclinations into practice.* The acts of a few of 

* Slaves in large numbers could be easily procured, as the 
agricultural Betshuana had no scruples in disposing of their Balala 
or Vaalpensen as termed by the white people, but the farmers 
did not care to be bothered with them, as they were too stupid 
to be of much service and could disappear whenever they chose. 
A case once came under my personal observation of a big boy 
being presented by a Batlaro chief to a white man who had per- 
formed a trifling service for him. The chief said " take him, do 
what you like with him." The boy was then little more than 
skin and bone. He was well fed and kindly treated, but as soon 
as he was fat he ran away to the desert. 

440 History of the South African Republic. [1858 

the most unruly individuals in the country might, however, 
endanger the peace and even the independence of the re- 
public. The president, therefore, on the 29th of September 

1857, issued a proclamation pointing out that the sale or 
barter of black children was forbidden by the recently 
adopted constitution, and prohibiting transfers of apprentice- 
ship, except when made before landdrosts. The mis- 
fortune of the country was the want of power to enforce the 
law, but in this instance popular opinion was in favour of 
its observance. 

The court which was to have assembled at Rustenburg 
on the 9th of November did not meet at the time appointed. 
The district of Zoutpansberg was in a very unsettled con- 
dition, and Mr. Schoeman wrote to President Pretorius 
that the date must be postponed to the 15th of January 

1858. In the mean time he rejected offers of assistance 
to restore order which Mr. Pretorius made, spoke angrily 
of such offers as attempts to interfere in his district, 
and acted generally in so surly a manner that a great 
many of those who had supported him now became strong 
advocates of the new constitution. When at length the 
final negotiations took place, he found himself in such a 
position that he could not demand conditions which he 
might have enforced a few months before. Some slight 
modifications were made in a few articles of the constitution, 
to meet the views or the pride of the people of the district, 
and Zoutpansberg was incorporated with the republic. Mr. 
Schoeman was then acknowledged as commandant-general of 
the whole united state. 



British authority was withdrawn from the territory 
between the Orange and Vaal rivers in February 1854. The 
European inhabitants were left to themselves, with liberty 
to form a government in any manner they might choose. But 
no matter what form of government they might decide upon, 
it was a necessity that it should differ materially from 
the Sovereignty administration. That administration, though 
it exercised no direct authority over people of Bantu or 
Hottentot blood as long as they remained within their 
respective locations, had claimed supremacy over every 
man, white or black, living between the Vaal river, the 
Orange river, and the Kathlamba mountains. It had asserted 
a right to control the relationship of the various tribes 
or clans to each other and to the Europeans, or in other 
words their external policy. That had now ceased. The 
Basuto tribe was henceforth to be independent, not only 
in the reserve denned by Major Warden and Sir Harry 
Smith, but in the locations allotted to Sikonyela, Gert 
Taaibosch, and Carolus Baatje, which Moshesh had added 
by conquest to his domains, - and in Molitsane's location, 
which formed part of the Lesuto with the full consent of 
the Bataung chief. Lepui and Moroko were also to be 
independent within their reserves. 

Adam Kok's standing was practically what it had been 
before the Napier treaty. The claims of Nicholas Waterboer 
and Cornelis Kok could either be admitted and arranged, 
or could be ignored with impunity as by the Sovereignty 


44 2 History of the Orange Free State, [1854 

government. Most of Jan Bloem's Koranas had left the 
territory, and those that remained had their location on the 
Vaal, in which it was understood that they would be left 
unmolested as long as they conducted themselves peaceably. 
This was understood also of the clans of Scheel Kobus, son 
and successor of Kausop, David Danser, and Goliath Yzerbek, 
and of the residents at the mission stations of Bethany, 
Beersheba, and Hebron. 

The country actually occupied by Europeans and the waste 
lands within the old Sovereignty boundaries comprised the 
territory over which the new government would exercise 
jurisdiction. The provisional administration was handed over 
by Sir George Clerk to a council of seven members, of which 
Mr. Josias Philip Hoffman was president. 

Seldom has a civilised community been thrown entirely 
upon its own resources under such unfavourable circum- 
stances. The territory transferred to the fifteen thousand 
Europeans who resided between the Vaal and the Orange 
looks large on a map, but it is in no part capable of sup- 
porting a dense population. Though covered at certain 
seasons with rich grass, the great plain is in times of 
drought a dreary waste. The soil of fully half its area is 
shallow, and the rainfall of the southern and western parts 
is so uncertain that agriculture cannot be carried on unless 
water is conserved by artificial means. Adapted only for 
cattle-runs, several thousand acres of ground are required by 
each stock-breeder, for its capabilities must be reckoned 
when it is at its worst. In 1854 vast herds of springboks 
and other antelopes grazed on its pastures, and their dried 
flesh formed no inconsiderable portion of the food of the 
inhabitants, white and coloured. Far removed from a sea- 
port, the settlers had little intercourse with the outer world, 
and lived in general in a condition of rude simplicity. Few 
in number and widely scattered, they were yet divided into 
parties and factions, and there was no individual among 
them so prominent by his abilities as to be an accepted 

1854] Adoption of a Constitution. 443 

Beside the infant state in its weakness was the Basil to 
tribe under the ablest chief in South Africa. For every 
white man that could take the field, he had at least twelve 
well-armed warriors at his back, and an almost impregnable 
county to defend himself in. His people were also multiply- 
ing rapidly, by adoption from other tribes and by that 
amazing natural increase which distinguishes the Bantu race 

The provisional government called upon the people to 
elect representatives to meet and frame a constitution. On 
the 28th of March 1854 these representatives came together 
in Bloemfontein, and the first sitting of the first volksraad of 
the Orange Free State took place. There were present two 
representatives of the village of Bloemfontein, one repre- 
sentative of each of the villages of Sannah's Poort (now 
Fauresmith), Winburg, Harrismith, and Smith field, and 
twenty -three representatives of as many wards or field- 
cornetcies into which the five districts bearing the same 
names as the villages were divided. On the 29th the 
provisional government handed over its authority to the 
volksraad, and immediately afterwards the discussions 

The debates lasted until the 18th of April, during which 
period a constitution was framed. The country was declared 
to be a republic, with the name of the Orange Free State. 
All adult males of European blood, after a residence of six 
months, were to have full burgher rights and to perform the 
duties required of burghers. 

The supreme and sole legislative authority of the land 
was vested in a single chamber termed the volksraad. Each 
village and each fieldcornetcy was entitled to return by 
election of its inhabitants one member to the volksraad, 
who should hold his seat for four years. At the end of two 
years half the members of the first volksraad, selected by 
lot, were to retire, so that thereafter in perpetuity there 
should be an election every alternate year of half the full 
number. The volksraad was to meet in ordinary session at 

4.44 History of the Orange Free State. [1854 

Bloemfontein on the first Monday in February of every year. 
Twelve members were to constitute a quorum. The qualifi- 
cations required of a member were that he should be fully 
twenty-five years of age, that he should possess fixed property 
of the value of £200, that he must have been resident in the 
country for twelve months, and that he must never have 
been punished for crime. 

The executive authority was entrusted to a president, to 
be elected by the burghers of the state from a list of names 
submitted by the volksraad. His term of office was limited 
to five years, but he could be re-elected as often as the 
people desired. The president could declare war and make 
peace, enter into treaties, and appoint officers when the 
volksraad was not in session, but all these acts required to 
be ratified by the volksraad. He could propose laws, and 
had a voice in debates ; but had no vote, much less a veto. 
He had the oversight of all public departments and the 
control of everything in connection with the public service ; 
but was responsible to the volksraad, to which body there 
was an appeal against any of his acts. He was required 
to make a tour of inspection at least once a year, to examine 
all the offices, and give the inhabitants an opportunity to 
make known their desires. He could summon the volksraad 
to meet in extraordinary session. He was to be advised and 
assisted by an executive council, which was to consist of 
the landdrost of Bloemfontein, the government secretary, 
and three unofficial members to be chosen by the 

It was provided that the president could be tried by the 
volksraad for high crimes or misdemeanours, but could only 
be condemned by a majority of three votes to one, and all 
the members were to have special notice given to them to 
attend on the occasion. He could be suspended from per- 
formauce of the duties by a bare plurality of votes. In case 
of his death, resignation, or dismissal, the volksraad was 
to appoint either a single individual or a committee to act as 
president until a regular election could take place. 

1854] Adoption of a Constitution. 445 

Laws enacted by the volksraad were to come in force two 
months after the date of their publication, unless otherwise 
specified in the statutes themselves. In all cases where there 
were no local enactments the Roman-Dutch law was declared 
to be the fundamental law of the state. 

The burghers of each ward were to elect a fieldcornet, 
whose duties were to be partly magisterial and partly military. 
In case of war the fieldcornet was required to call out the 
men of his ward, and to act as their leader. The burghers 
of each district were to elect a commandant, whose duties 
were purely of a military nature, the fieldcornets of the 
district being under his orders in time of war. 

Every healthy male in the state between the ages of 
sixteen and sixty was made liable to perform military service, 
mounted and armed at his own expense. In time of war the 
commandants were to elect a general, but only for the 
period of the war. The state's president, the commandants, 
and the fieldcornets were then to form a council of war 
(krygsraad). The general was to receive directions from 
the president only. 

In each district a landdrost was to be stationed, whose 
duties were to be the administration of justice and the 
collection of revenue. The landdrosts were to be named by 
the volksraad, but in case of vacancies occurring between the 
sessions the president could make provisional appointments. 
The landdrosts were to have seats in the volksraad, with right 
of discussion, but not of voting. To assist them in important 
judicial cases, boards of heemraden were created. A circuit 
court was constituted, to consist of three landdrosts sitting 
together. It was empowered to try serious criminal cases, 
the question of guilty or not guilty being decided by a jury. 
It had also jurisdiction in civil eases of large amount, and in 
appeal from the landdrost's court of the district in which its 
session was being held. The president, with the advice and 
consent of a majority of the executive council, had power 
to remit or mitigate sentences passed by the courts of 

44-6 History of the Orange Free State. [1854 

The Dutch reformed church was to be supported by the 
state, but conscience was to be free. Liberty of the individual, 
freedom of the press, and security of property were guaranteed 
by the constitution. It contained also many clauses relative 
to matters of less importance, which need not be referred to 

The volksraad appointed an executive council, and requested 
Mr. J. P. Hoffman to act as provisional president until its 
next session, which was to be held on the 4th of September, 
when the elected president would be installed in office. The 
election was to take place on the 15th of May. The following 
four names were submitted to the electors, to choose a pre- 
sident from i Josias Philip Hoffman, of the district of 
Smithfield, Orange Free State ; Captain Struben, a magistrate 
in Natal ; Jacobus Nicolaas Boshof, of Maritzburg, Natal ; and 
Andries du Toit, late commandant of Beaufort West, Cape 

The volksraad appointed the following landdrosts: Hector 
Lowen for Bloemfontein, J. H, Ford for Smithfield, Jurie 
Wessels for Winburg, and P. M. Bester for Harrismith. 

Sir George Clerk had presented to the provisional govern- 
ment a sum of £3,000 for the purpose of " soothing bitter 
recollections of sufferings of former times." This sum was 
considered wholly inadequate for the purpose intended, and 
the provisional government had therefore requested the 
special commissioner either to add £10,000, or to appoint an 
agent to apportion it, as they feared that any distribution 
which they might make would increase rather than allay the 
discontent of the claimants. The special commissioner de- 
clined to do either, but suggested by letter that the claimants 
should relinquish their rights in favour of the new govern- 
ment. Acting President Hoffman laid this letter before the 
volksraad, when immediately those members — sixteen in 
number — -who were among the claimants relinquished their 
shares. This patriotic example was not, however, followed by 
all the burghers, and the distribution of the fund occasioned 
considerable difficulty. 

1854] Election of a President. 447 

The claims of Nicholas Waterboer and Cornells Kok to 
ground above the junction of the Orange and the Yaal came 
before the volksraad for discussion, and the members, in a 
desire to do justice to every one of whatever nationality, 
appointed a commission to inquire into the pretensions of the 
two captains. 

The volksraad then closed its first session. 

With a view to conciliate their powerful neighbour, the 
moderate parties in the Free State combined, and elected as 
the first president Mr. Josias Philip Hoffman, who was well 
known as a philanthropist of the same school as Wilberforce 
and Buxton. Thirty years earlier he and his father had 
accompanied Lieutenant Farewell's first party to Natal, but 
they had not remained long in that country. Since that 
time he had been engaged in various callings, and had re- 
sided in many parts of South Africa. Mr. Hoffman had not 
the advantage of more than a very limited education from 
books, but he was naturally shrewd and clever. When a 
young man he had met with an accident in Capetown which 
crippled him for life, so that his power was now of the mind, 
not of the body. For several years he had been living on a 
farm at Jammerberg Drift given to him by Moshesh, with 
whom he was on terms of intimacy, and in dealing with 
whom he maintained that nothing but moral force was 
needed. With many admirable qualities, the first president 
of the Free State had one great failing : want of candour. 
He was a man whose ideas of diplomacy were those of the 
seventeenth, not of the nineteenth century. 

A matter demanding the immediate attention of the 
government was the attitude of Adam Kok. That chief was 
still endeavouring to maintain a position of independence 
within the reserve assigned to him by Sir Harry Smith, and 
to exclude white people from it. Upon the publication of 
the convention of the 23rd of February, he caused an adver- 
tisement to be inserted in the newspapers that with regard 
to the third article, in which it was stated " that he had 
<approv§4 of ancl »confirmed the measures of her Majesty's 

44 8 History of the Orange Free State. [1854 

special commissioner for removing all impediments tending 
to prevent the Griquas from selling their lands," he thereby 
made known that he had not up to that date approved of 
and ratified such measures, either by word or letter. He 
next proceeded to encourage a party of indigent blacks from 
the Cape Colony to settle in his territory. 

The Free State government had then no option, and was 
obliged to take decisive measures. To allow a community 
of thriftless and idle paupers to grow up on their border 
would be culpable neglect. On the 27th of May, therefore, a 
notice was inserted in the Bloemfontein Gazette that all 
persons purchasing land in the Griqua reserve must make 
the necessary declarations before the landdrost of Faure- 
smith, when they could calculate thereafter upon protection 
by the state. 

The Griqua captain, when rejecting Sir George Clerk's 
offers, had forgotten how entirely dependent he was upon 
the imperial authorities. He had since written both to Sir 
George Clerk and Sir George Cathcart, asking to be allowed 
to purchase ammunition at Colesberg, and finding his request 
unattended to, he began to realise his position. On the 12th 
of July he wrote to Sir George Clerk "to ascertain if the 
terms proposed to him and his council some months before 
were still open for their acceptance, as, if so, they desired 
negotiations to be reopened with a view of giving their con- 
sent to them in a somewhat modified form." He stated that 
" a greater number of his people than he had anticipated 
were desirous of selling, and that for him to prevent such 
sales would, he felt assured, not only involve himself and 
his people in difficulties, but also throw the whole country 
into confusion and excitement." He proposed that all deeds 
of sale should be countersigned by himself, so as to prevent 
fictitious transactions or disputed boundaries, that the £300 
a year stipulated by the last treaty should be paid to him 
and his heirs in perpetuity, that larger sums than those 
previously offered should be given as compensation for farms 
between the Riet and M odder rivers, and that he sfhould be 

1854] Dealings with Adam Kok. 449 

guaranteed in the right to purchase ammunition in the Cape 

Sir George Clerk replied on the 3rd of August that it 
was then too late to offer terms, as he was no longer in a 
position to negotiate. The captain now realised that the 
treaty had really been set aside, and that instead of being 
the semi-independent ruler of a great tract of country, he 
was nothing more thaD the head of a little horde of Hotten- 
tots and mixed breeds in various stages of progress towards 

On the 28th of September President Hoffman visited 
Philippolis, when he had no difficulty in making a satis- 
factory arrangement with the Griqua captain and his council. 
The sale of farms was agreed to, and European purchasers 
were to be regarded as burghers of the Free State. Griquas 
within the old reserve were to continue to be subjects of 
Adam Kok, and all unoccupied ground therein was to 
remain the property of the Griqua government. Otherwise 
the reserve was completely done away with. 

The only matter that could not be arranged was the 
claim still made by individual Griquas to farms leased 
outside of the reserve before the treaty with Sir Harry 
Smith, and which that governor had converted into property 
in perpetuity of the lessees. The president promised to urge 
the late special commissioner to make compensation for such 
farms, according to his own proposals in March, which Kok 
had rejected but would now gladly agree to. Further than 
that he could do nothing in the matter, though he reminded 
the captain that the case was really not such a hard one 
as it appeared on the surface/ for Sir Peregrine Maitland 
had converted deeds of sale from Griquas to white men 
into leases for forty years, and the former owners of the 
farms which Sir Harry Smith had converted into perpetual 
holdings were receiving a subsidy of £100 a year as com- 
pensation for the conversion of leases into sales. 

This arrangement brought to a close the disputes with 
the petty Griqua clan under Adam Kok, which had been 


450 History of the Orange Free State. [1854 

constant since the Napier treaty. The imperial authorities 
decided that the captain should receive the yearly allowance 
in money that Sir Harry Smith had engaged to pay him, 
as well as the £100 a year above referred to, and he drew 
it thereafter from the Cape treasury through the high 
commissioner as long as he lived. 

During this time several changes were made in the staff 
of district officers. Mr. Jurie Wessels, who had been ap- 
pointed by the volksraad landdrost of Winburg, declined to 
accept the situation. Mr. Schnehage, the clerk, acted as 
landdrost until the end of July, when he resigned. Mr. 
Joseph Millerd Or pen, who as a member of the volksraad 
had taken the leading part in framing the constitution of the 
state, was then provisionally appointed by the president, and 
was confirmed in the office by the volksraad on the 13th of 
September. At the same time the district of Harrismith 
was united to Winburg, but retained a separate board of 
heemraden. Mr. Bester, the former landdrost of Harrismith, 
was appointed to Bioemfontein, as successor to Mr. Lowen, 
who resigned. 

At the commencement of President Hoffman's tenure of 
office the relationship between the Europeans and the Basuto 
was apparently satisfactory, for Moshesh, who had been 
watching the course of events with some degree of bewilder- 
ment, was keeping his people in tolerable order. But it was 
not long before difficulties began to crop up. In the 
Winburg district parties of Basuto under Molapo and other 
captains invaded and took possession of a tract of land 
that had been purchased from Rantsane, the chief of 
highest hereditary rank in the whole country ; in the 
Smithfield district cattle-lifting was renewed ; while in 
Harrismith Witsi's followers in organised robber bands were 
preventing anything like security. 

The clan under Witsi, known as the Bakolokwe, once 
formed part of the large Baputi tribe when it was living in 
the territory bordering on the Limpopo river. Ejected from 
its home there by the Bavenda, the tribe had removed to 

1854] Dealings with Wit si. 451 

the south-east, losing much of its strength on the way, but 
incorporating boys and girls of other branches of the race, 
until it reached a locality where it could again build kraals 
and make gardens. In the early Zulu wars it had been 
nearly exterminated, and to save the remnant that remained 
the chief did as many others in similar circumstances were 
obliged to do, he placed himself and his people under Tshaka. 
They moved into Zululand, and became part of the composite 
tribe that obeyed the commands of the great and ruthless 
conqueror. There they remained until the defeat of Dingan 
by Panda's adherents, when they took advantage of the 
confusion that followed for a time, and fled westward over 
the mountains. Settling in the locality ever since known 
as Witsi's Hoek, these people, who had learned nothing 
from their sufferings, continued the career of plunder in 
which they had so long been engaged. 

The losses occasioned to the farmers of Harrismith by 
their forays were very considerable. Mr. Orpen, landdrost 
of Win burg, whose opinion of Moshesh coincided with that 
of the president, was employed as a special commissioner 
to endeavour to obtain redress. The Basuto chief, who 
claimed no control over Witsi, sent his brother Moperi with 
Mr. Orpen to advise the robber captain to give up the spoil. 
But the mission was fruitless. Witsi neither restored the 
cattle nor would he allow Mr. Orpen and Moperi to inspect 
the herds in his country. The president then went upon 
the same errand himself, and met with a like rebuff. 

In August Mr. Hoffman visited Moshesh, and held several 
conferences with him and his principal men. It was arranged 
to bring further moral pressure to bear upon Witsi, when if 
he should still remain obstinate the president was to send 
an armed force to punish him, and Moshesh promised in this 
event neither to assist him nor to give him shelter. One 
of Witsi's brothers w r ith his following, against whom no 
charge was made, at his own desire and with the president's 
approval was received as a vassal by Moshesh, and a tract 
of land in the Lesuto was given to him to live upon. A 

45 2 History of the Orange Free State. [1854 

promise was made by the Basuto chief to call in his subjects 
who were trespassing on the ground purchased from Ra- 
ntsane, which he admitted was rightly the property of the 
white people. 

The cattle-lifting in the ISmithfield district was a matter 
not so easily settled, for many elements of discord were 
present there. The farmers and the Basuto were in some 
parts intermingled, and neither were the best specimens of 
their class. The farmers were sometimes guilty of hasty 
and imprudent acts that drew upon them the hostility of 
their neighbours. The Basuto were mainly adherents of two 
of the most notorious robber captains in all South Africa, 
Poshuli and Kuane or Jan Letele. 

With the first of these, Moshesh's brother Poshuli, the 
reader is already acquainted. His stronghold was Vechtkop, 
which he had occupied for the last nine years. 

The other, Kuane or — as he was called by the Europeans 
— Jan Letele, was the representative of the family of the 
most important chief in the country before the rise of 
Moshesh. He was a grandson of Motlomi. That chief was 
not the head of the family by many degrees, but his 
abilities had enabled him to grasp supreme power in the 
Bamonaheng tribe, and the hereditary head of the house 
made no effort to recover the position to which his birth 
entitled him. The following genealogical table will show at 
a glance the descent of both Motlomi and Jan Letele. 


Khomotsuane Monyane 

Mothibedi Nkopani Motlomi 


Maldiya Khoyane 


Jan Letele 







Mokwatsi, who is shown here as Jan Letele's father, in 
reality died young, without leaving any children ; but in 

1854J Account of Jan Letele. 453 

order that his house should not perish, a woman was given 
to his brother Letele, whose children were to be considered 
those of the dead man. Jan Letele was on this account 
termed "a child of the grave." His mother was killed by 
some Bushmen, when fleeing from the invading horde 
under Matiwane. He was then an infant not a month old. 
His grandmother, who had been a favourite wife of 
Motlomi, took him to the Cape Colony, and he remained 
at Theopolis until he was twenty-three years of age, when 
he returned to the country north of the Orange. 

In his pride of birth Jan Letele looked with anger and 
scorn upon the upstart, as he deemed him, who had 
usurped dignity and power to which he had not been 
born. He was in the habit of speaking with contempt 
of Moshesh and his family, and asking such questions as 
" who is the son of Mokatshane, whom the white men as 
well as the Basuto regard as a great chief ? Can any one 
trace his descent or connect him with the heads of our 
race ? " He was acquainted with the Dutch language, but 
had learnt in his exile nothing else that was useful. Having 
collected a band of disaffected characters about him, this 
heir of a fallen line was continually disturbing the peace 
by his robberies and riotous acts. With Poshuli he was 
at variance, as a matter of course ; and Moshesh, who always 
tried to conciliate such persons rather than reduce them 
by force, seemed afraid of proceeding against him. 

Though fair promises were made by the Basuto chief and 
his counsellors, matters remained in a state of confusion 
between the Caledon and the Orange. There was no desire 
on the part of Moshesh that Europeans should live comfort- 
ably there, as he wanted the ground for his own people to 
expand upon. At the end of the year Mr. Orpen visited Thaba 
Bosigo* again as special commissioner, but obtained nothing 
more than a renewal of the promises made to the president. 

* Bosigo being the usual and official spelling, I retain it, though it does 
not convey to a European the correct sound of the word. The g Is 
superfluous, the pronunciation being Bos-see-o. 

454 History of the Orange Free State. [1854 

Moshesh, at this time, gained much credit with the friends 
of the missionaries in South Africa and in Europe by an 
ordinance which he published prohibiting the introduction 
of spirituous liquors into the Lesuto. The form of this 
ordinance must be attributed to European influence, but 
there is no reason to doubt that its object met with the 
approval of the great chief personally. 

Of late years Europeans had been introducing spirituous 
liquors into the Lesuto, and it did not need the teaching of 
the missionaries to convince Moshesh that brandy was hurtful 
to his subjects. From time immemorial they had used fer- 
mented liquors made of millet ; a kind of weak beer, indeed, 
forming a large proportion of their food. But the distillers' 
art was unknown to them, and brandy came therefore as a 
new thing into the country. Few individuals in the condition 
of the Basuto can resist the temptation to use strong liquor 
when it is before their eyes. Seeing this, Moshesh, by the 
advice of the missionaries and with the concurrence of his 
counsellors, issued, in November 1854, an ordinance under 
which all spirituous liquor brought among his people was to 
be poured upon the ground, without the owner having any 
claim for compensation. And that every one might be made 
acquainted with the law, it was drawn up in writing and 
published in Dutch and Sesuto. But it was never thoroughly 
carried out, though it had some effect in diminishing the 
quantity of spirits brought into the country. 

At a later date Moshesh, by the advice of the missionaries, 
issued ordinances against punishment on charges of practising 
witchcraft and against circumcision. The first of these was 
only intended to gratify the missionaries, and no attempt 
was ever made to enforce it. Where the belief that certain 
individuals had power to bewitch others was partially under- 
mined by Christian teaching, the punishment of persons smelt 
out by witchfinders ceased, but nowhere else. Circumcision 
has been abolished by some sections of the tribe, but is 
still practised by others, Moshesh himself at a later date 
having withdrawn his opposition to it. 

1854] Strife between Koranas and Bushmen. 455 

A petty war was at this time being carried on along the 
left bank of the lower Vaal. Major Warden had set apart 
a tract of land there for the joint use of the Korana captain 
Goliath Yzerbek and the Bushman David Danser, and when 
the latter of these tried to dispose of some farms, he had 
declared such sales illegal. Mr. Green, the last British 
Resident, had, however, countenanced the disposal of ground 
by Danser, and Sir George Clerk concurred with him in doing 
so, as Danser represented that he had no cattle and therefore 
no use for as large a location as had been allotted to him. 
Without consulting Goliath, Danser was rapidly selling the 
whole reserve and converting the proceeds into brandy. 
Goliath then appealed to President Hoffman, and the matter 
came before the volksraad. In September 1854 that body 
directed a commission to inquire into the claims of the two 
captains; but before any investigation could be made, open 
war broke out between them. Danser expelled his opponent 
and seized his cattle, compelling Goliath to take refuge among 
the farmers. Gasibone, a chief of the Batlapin beyond the 
Vaal, threatened to interfere, and the matter was becoming 
serious, when the Free State government sent an officer to 
restore order. Danser was obliged to give back his booty 
and permit Goliath to return to the location. The quarrels 
between these petty captains caused the missionaries to remove 
from Pniel, and for several years that station was abandoned 
by the Berlin society. 

During President Hoffman's visit to Moshesh in August 
1854, he was received at all the principal stations with 
salutes of musketry fired in his honour. Ammunition 
seemed plentiful, yet Moshesh asked for a present of gun- 
powder. The president promised him some, and upon 
returning to Bloemfontein sent him a keg containing fifty 
pounds (22*68 kilogrammes). In the report of his journey 
laid before the volksraad during its next meeting this 
circumstance was not mentioned, but soon after the close 
of the session it became known. At once there was a great 
outcry against Mr. Hoffman, raised by those who had all 

456 History of the Orange Free State. [1855 

along accused him of lowering the dignity of the Europeans 
by his method of dealing with the Basuto chief. They now 
openly spoke of him as guilty of treason. 

In February 1855 the volksraad met again, when it was 
found that the report in the records contained information 
concerning the gunpowder. Upon this a party of disaffected 
burghers, headed by some members of the volksraad, took 
possession of the fort, and pointed the guns at the president's 
house. The direction of public opinion was evident when 
this riotous proceeding met with hardly a remonstrance. 
The result was that Mr. Hoffman tendered his resignation, 
whicb was immediately accepted, and a committee of four 
members, with Mr. J. J. Venter as chairman, was appointed 
to administer the government until another president could 
be chosen and sworn in. Mr. J. N. Boshof was recom- 
mended to the people by the volksraad, and in course of 
time was duly elected. 

The intercourse between the executive committee and 
Moshesh was carried on in a friendly manner, each express- 
ing a desire for the continuation of peace. But as the 
depredations upon the border farmers increased greatly after 
Mr. Hoffman's retirement, Mr. Venter wrote to the chief 
that the only means of preserving peace would be for him 
to compel his people to do no wrong to the burghers of the 
Free State. Robberies followed, however, on such an 
extensive scale that many farmers were compel) ed to remove 
from the neighbourhood of the Basuto, while Moshesh 
continued as usual to deprecate war. 

Mr. Venter then arranged for a meeting, which took place 
at Platberg on the 9th of August 1855. It was there 
agreed that any one losing cattle by theft should be at 
liberty to search for them in Moshesh's country, provided he 
went unarmed and carried a pass from the head of the state. 
Nothing could show more plainly than this agreement the 
helplessness of the infant republic, or the desire of its 
government to avoid a rupture with the Basuto. Mr. 
Venter was a man of common sense and knew that such an 

1855] Intervention of Sir George Grey. 457 

arrangement was worthless, yet he felt that under the 
circumstances nothing else could be done. 

On the 27th of August 1855 Mr. Jacobus Nicolaas Boshoi 
was installed as president of the Free State. He was a 
man of some education, and had received such a training in 
office work as enabled him to put the various departments 
of the public service into something like order. With regard 
to Moshesh, he was disposed to adopt a firmer course of 
dealing than Mr. Hoffman had done, not because he was 
less anxious to preserve peace, but because he believed 
conciliation had been carried so far as to destroy the respect 
due to a civilised government. 

In the meantime Sir George Grey had arrived in South 
Africa as high commissioner and governor of the Cape 
Colony, and it was already apparent that he possessed great 
ability in dealing with questions relating to the intercourse 
of the different races with each other. He saw at once that 
matters were fast drifting towards war between the Free 
State and the Basuto tribe, and that such a war must 
endanger the prestige of the Europeans throughout South 
Africa. To prevent it, if possible, while at the same time 
taking care not to involve the British government in any 
responsibilities, he arranged for a meeting between Mr. 
Boshof and Moshesh at Aliwal North, at which he should 
be present as a friend of both and endeavour to bring about 
a good understanding between them, though without assum- 
ing the title of arbitrator. The president and the chief 
entered into the plan with apparent cordiality, but on the 
appointed day Moshesh failed to appear. After waiting 
some time, the governor and the president proceeded to 
Smithfield, and on the way met the chief with a party of 
his people, who rode on with them. 

On the 5th of October a formal meeting took place at 
Smithfield, but little good seemed likely to result from it, 
as Moshesh declared that he had not come on business but 
on a friendly visit. Next morning, however, Sir George 
Grey sent for him with his sons, Letsie, Masupha, and 

458 History of the Orange Free State. [1855 

Nehemiah, and a few of his principal counsellors, when he 
pointed out the necessity of some definite understanding 
being arrived at between the president and the chief, if 
hostilities were to be avoided. Moshesh spoke, as he 
always did, no matter how strongly his conduct belied his 
words, of his wish to live in peace with all men, and as 
he was really desirous not to offend or lose favour with 
the governor, he consented to meet Mr. Boshof again and 
discuss matters with him. 

A conference followed, in which Sir George Grey con- 
fined himself to making suggestions, but these were received 
on both sides as authoritative, and were therefore 
assented to and committed to writing. Nehemiah, Moshesh's 
son, who was present and took part in the discussion, 
understood and spoke the English language, so that the 
chief was thoroughly acquainted with every proposal that 
he agreed to. The whole of the conditions were then 
arranged in the form of a treaty, which was worded as 
follows : 

1. That every Mosuto entering the Free State should 
be furnished with a pass signed by a chief or missionary ; 

2. That hunting parties should obtain permission from the 
landdrost of a district before entering it ; 

3. That subjects of Moshesh disobeying these regula- 
tions should be liable to punishment by the Free State 
courts ; 

4. That in case of the spoor of stolen cattle being 
traced to any chief's location, information thereof should 
be given to such chief, who should follow it up ; 

5. That any further measures in connection with such 
cases should only take place between Moshesh, or the chief 
to whom the spoor was given over, and the landdrost of 
the district from which the cattle were stolen ; 

6. That in the event of any chief, to whose location 
thefts should be traced, restoring the stolen cattle and 
delivering the thief to be punished according to the 
laws of the Free State, no further compensation should 

1855] Treaty of Smithfield. 459 

be demanded ; but if the thief should not be given up, 
the stolen property should be restored, together with a 
fine of four times its value ; 

7. That every such case should be settled within two 
months of demand being made ; 

8. That subjects of Moshesh trespassing on the farms 
of Free State burghers, and refusing to move when 
desired to do so by a fieldcornet, should be driven away 
by force ; 

9. That in case of dispute about the ownership oi 
land by any burgher of the Free State, the matter should 
be settled by the chief and the president jointly, or by 
officers appointed to act for them ; 

10. That burghers of the Free State trespassing on 
land in the territory of Moshesh, and refusing to remove 
when called upon to do so, should be driven away by 

The above were the conditions of an agreement which, 
if faithfully observed by both parties assenting to it, 
would have secured peace and friendship between the 
people of the Free State and the Basuto. No boundary 
line was referred to in them, but the clause respecting 
the ownership of ground met that difficulty, for the 
farms up to the Warden line were held under British titles, 
and the Free State claimed nothing farther. Moshesh 
signed the agreement, as he afterwards asserted, to avoid 
offending Sir George Grey ; but he took no trouble to observe 
it. He had no scruple in the matter, for an agreement or 
a promise had no binding force on him. If it served the 
purpose of staving off a difficulty for the time being, 
that was sufficient to one of his way of thinking. He had 
learned much from his missionaries, and was well acquainted 
with the historical portions of the bible, but he had not 
learned to be truthful or strictly honest, for he looked 
at transactions with others from a Bantu, not a Christian 
point of view. There was no power to compel him to keep 
an agreement, and without that a document was valueless. 

460 History of the Orange Free State. [1855 

During this visit of Sir George Grey to the country 
north of the Orange, he proposed to the French mission- 
aries to establish a training school in Basutoland, in 
which schoolmasters and evangelists could be educated, 
and young men be instructed in such handicrafts as those 
of the blacksmith, carpenter, and mason. The governor 
had at his disposal a considerable sum of money supplied 
by the British treasury for the purpose of attempting to 
raise the blacks of South Africa in civilisation, and on 
this fund he spoke of drawing to meet the preliminary 
expenses. He proposed that the institution should be under 
the direction of the French mission. The missionaries 
entered heartily into the plan, for nothing could have 
been more in accordance with their desires, and they 
secured a suitable site by means of transfer from Moshesh, 
who was also favourable to the project ; but by the time 
the arrangements were completed the governor found that 
the whole of the funds at his disposal would be required 
in British Kaffraria, and the design therefore fell 

Sir George Clerk had stationed Mr. John Burnet, an 
old Sovereignty civil servant, at Bloemfontein, with the 
title of British Agent, and had been disposed to place 
an officer in a similar diplomatic capacity with Moshesh 
at Thaba Bosigo, had there been funds available from 
which his salary could be paid. Sir George Grey would 
have carried out this plan, which would probably have 
been attended with good results, but there was no money 
that he could command for this purpose, and as he was of 
opinion that without such an agent at Thaba Bosigo the 
retention of Mr. Burnet at Bloemfontein would only cause 
jealousy between the Europeans and the Basuto, in April 
1855 he moved him to Aliwal North, where he gave him the 
appointment of civil commissioner and resident magistrate, 
while retaining his services as a medium for obtaining 
information upon all matters and events occurring north 
of the Orange. 

1856] Dispersion of Wttsfs People. 461 

Wit si's people were still plundering their neighbours, 
and a large part of the Harrismith district, abandoned 
by the farmers, was overrun by them, when early in 1856 
the volksraad determined to send an expedition against 
the marauders. Moshesh informed the president that having 
used all his influence in vain to induce Wit si to restore 
the stolen cattle, he would give that chief no assistance 
against the Free State forces. This course of action was 
in accordance with his policy of bringing all the petty chiefs 
in the neighbourhood of Basutoland to acknowledge him as 
their head. Witsi was acting in entire independence, and 
thus it suited Moshesh's purpose to see him chastised. 

A commando was with difficulty got together, for there 
was hardly a district in the state that the burghers could 
leave without danger of their families being attacked in 
their absence. In May this force, under Commandant Botha, 
marched against Witsi. It was accompanied by a son of 
Moshesh and by one of his attendants, these persons being 
sent by the great chief to act as mediators in case Witsi 
should submit. A demand of seventeen hundred head of 
horned cattle and three hundred horses was made upon the 
robber captain, as compensation for his people's thefts, 
with the alternative of active hostilities within twenty- 
four hours. This demand not being complied with, the 
burghers entered his country, defeated small parties of 
his people in a couple of skirmishes, and seized about as 
much stock as he had been called upon to surrender. There- 
upon the commando broke up, every man returning to his 

The dispersion of the Free State forces, before ade- 
quate punishment had been inflicted upon the robbers, left 
the district of Harrismith at Wit si's mercy. The president 
then entrusted the settlement of matters there to Mr. Orpen, 
landdrost of Winburg and Harrismith,* who managed to get 

* On the 30th of August 1855 the volksraad had resolved that 
Harrismith should be separated from Winburg again, but the 
resolution was not yet carried into effect. 

462 History of the Orange Free State. [1856 

together a small commando, with which he entered Witsi's 
country, drove out that chief's retainers, and burned 
their huts. The warriors of the clan as well as the women 
and children fled into Basutoland, where they were received 
by Moshesh, who now became their protector and requested 
the Free State government not to punish them further. 
Thereafter they were regarded as members of the Basuto 

For a few weeks after the agreement made by Moshesh 
in presence of Sir George Grey, the number of thefts 
along the border greatly diminished, but cattle -lifting 
was soon resumed on as extensive a scale as before. In 
March 1856 the Basuto chief in writing to the president 
laid claim to the country as far as a line running from 
Commissie Drift by the southern side of the Koesberg to 
the Orange river. This would have taken from the Free 
State a large extent of the most valuable ground in the 
country, and it was a most unreasonable claim. With the 
exception of the Napier treaty the only title that Moshesh 
could bring forward to be its owner was that it had once 
been the hunting field of the little Baputi clan, and that 
the Baputi had subsequently become his vassals. They had 
long since abandoned it, and were then living on the other 
side of the Orange river. None of the other tribes 
whose remnants were his people had ever occupied territory 
below a line some distance north of Thaba Bosigo, between 
which point and the Orange river the right of possession 
was the right derived from first occupation. White men 
and Basuto had recently made their way into it, the latter 
were more numerous in the north, the former in the south ; 
the Warden line divided it almost equally between them, but 
Moshesh wanted far more than that, and he can hardly be 
blamed for doing so. Every nationality strives to get as 
much territory as possible, and the Basuto were no excep- 
tion to this general rule. But the Free State was equally 
justified in resisting Moshesh's pretensions, which it tried 
to do. 

1856] Attitude of Moshesh. 463 

Between the Warden line, which the republic wished to 
maintain, and the new line which Moshesh claimed, the 
district thereafter became a scene of unchecked lawlessness. 
Jan Letele, Lebenya, Poshuli, Seperi, and other petty 
captains, though quarrelling with each other, were one in 
plundering and insulting the farmers. Most of these in 
despair abandoned their homes, went into lager, and became 
clamorous for open war as an evil less than that they were 
enduring. Moshesh as ever spoke constantly of the advan- 
tages of peace, but made no effort to suppress the hostile 
acts of his subjects. 

While matters were in this condition, Mr. Boshof sent 
a deputation to Thaba Bosigo to demand the stock stolen 
prior to the agreement and four times the quantity stolen 
after that date, or the surrender of the robbers. If this 
demand should not be complied with, he threatened to 
attack the offending clans, in which case he desired the 
great chief not to protect them. In reply, Moshesh promised 
to hold an assembly of his leading men, when if they would 
not agree to punish the thieves and make compensation as 
demanded, he would leave the marauding clans to their fate. 
But he did not keep his word, and Mr. Boshof thought it 
prudent not to carry out his threat, lest a general war 
might be the result. 

The Basuto chief was really making preparations for 
war, in case the farmers would not give up the disputed 
district. He did not fear the Free State in the least, but 
he was too astute to draw upon himself the enmity of the 
colonial government at the same time. He was therefore 
secretly intriguing with the coast tribes, with a view of 
keeping the attention of the colonists occupied nearer 
home, while he was endeavouring to make Sir George Grey 
believe that he was doing everything possible to preserve 
peace. So great was his power of deception that the 
missionary Arbousset, otherwise a very astute man, mistook a 
scheme of his to get the British authorities to assist in 
keeping his warriors together, for a peaceable design of 

464 History of the Orange Free State, [1856 

preventing trespass over the colonial border. And so great 
was his assurance that he actually applied to the landdrost 
of Smithfield for a supply of guns and ammunition to 
enable him, as he said, to chastise the robbers. 

Sir George Grey, however, was not deceived. He had 
agents among the Kaffir tribes at widely separated points, 
who placed the fact of the Basuto chief's intrigues beyond 
all question, though so secretly and carefully were they 
carried on that the details could not be ascertained. The 
governor informed Moshesh that he was aware of the com- 
munications passing between him and the most powerful chief on 
the eastern frontier, who was then believed to be preparing 
to attack the colony. Moshesh in reply asserted his loyalty 
and fidelity to the British government, flatly denied 
having had any intercourse with Kreli for more than three 
years, and appealed to President Boshof to testify in his 
favour. The missionary Jousse, who acted as secretary on 
this occasion, was so deceived that Moshesh's statements 
appeared to him to be worthy of credence. But though the 
chief managed to blind even such sensible men as Messrs. 
Arbousset and Jousse, who were apparently in a most favour- 
able position for observation, but who really had no such 
sources of information as Sir George Grey had at command, 
the governor's letter convinced him that he must act with 
still greater caution in future and endeavour by some means 
to throw the whole blame of provocation upon the farmers, 
or he would not be left to deal with them alone.* 

The demand which the president had made was for seven 
hundred and sixty-eight horses and five hundred and thirty- 
five head of horned cattle, of which the chief had restored 
only six horses and one hundred and forty-one head of 

* There are very few instances indeed in South African history 
of missionaries detecting preparations for war which were being made 
all around them. On nearly every occasion when an outbreak has 
occurred, they have been taken completely by surprise. Some 
curious instances of their having been led astray by appearances 
are given with the utmost candour by the French missionaries in 
their Journal. 

1856] Dealings with the Griquas, 465 

cattle when in October 1856 the volksraad met in extra- 
ordinary session. As nothing better could be done, it was 
resolved to send another deputation to Thaba Bosigo. Messrs. 
Gerrit Visser and Jacobus Hoffman accordingly visited 
Moshesh and induced him to sign a document in which he 
undertook to deliver within one month the horses and cattle 
still due, and further promised to do his best to prevent 
robberies in future, so that the farmers might occupy their 
lands without being disturbed by his people. It was neces- 
sary to do something now, so to meet the first part of his 
engagement Moshesh called for contributions in stock from 
each of his vassal chieftains. He did not attempt to punish 
the robber clans, or even to compel them alone to make 
restitution. The result was that the thieving continued as 

Early in 1857 the Basuto chief delivered to the land- 
drost of Smithfield one thousand three hundred and fifty- 
nine of the most wretched cattle in his country, but only 
thirty-six horses, as the tribe refused to part with 
animals required in war. The volksraad, however, declined 
to accept horned cattle in place of horses, and after de- 
ducting the number due, the remainder were sent back to 

Leaving now for a time the wearisome disputes with 
the Basuto, the difficulties with the Griquas on the 
opposite side of the republic claim attention. 

The Free State government, acting upon the report of 
the commission appointed in April 1854, admitted the pre- 
tensions of the captains Nicholas Waterboer and Cornelis Kok 
to the ground between the Modder and Orange rivers up to 
the western boundary of Adam Kok's reserve, that is the 
line from Eamah to David's Graf. In August 1855 the volks- 
raad resolved to employ a surveyor to place beacons along 
that line. The contending captains then requested Adam Kok 
to act as arbitrator, and he, in October 1855, divided the 
district between them by a boundary thereafter termed the 
Vetberg line. By this division the right of Cornelis Kok to 


466 History of the Orange Free State. [1856 

a tract of land along the southern bank of the Modder was 
acknowledged, but Waterboer obtained much the larger share 
of the territory in dispute. 

There were two farms and part of a third held by 
Europeans under British titles along Waterboer's side of 
the Vetberg line, but the Free State, in confirming the 
settlement, excluded these from his territory. This altera- 
tion of Adam Kok's award was necessary, because it was a 
fundamental law of Waterboer's clan — laid down by the 
missionaries in former times, and since rigidly adhered to 
— not to dispose of land to Europtans. Within the territory 
enclosed by the Vaal, the Orange, and the Vetberg line thus 
rectified, Waterboer was thereafter recognised as possessing 
sovereign rights as well as ownership of the ground. This 
arrangement was one of convenience, as it could be of no 
advantage to the Free State government to retain dominion 
over waste lands — as these were then — with no proprietary 
rights or likelihood of ever obtaining any. 

With Cornells Kok and his clan it was different. They 
were always ready to sell ground on the Free State side of 
the Yaal when purchasers offered, and Europeans had long 
been scattered over the country north of the Vetberg line. 
The principle acted upon by Sir Harry Smith and the 
Sovereignty government was therefore retained in their case. 
Their right of property in the ground that was still 
unsold was admitted, but dominion over it and every one 
living upon it was kept by the Free State government 
just as transferred to them by Sir George Clerk. The 
captain and nearly the whole of the clan lived at Campbell, 
beyond the Vaal, and there they were regarded as entirely 

During this time several changes had taken place in the 
district offices. Mr. P. M. Bester had declined to accept 
the appointment of landdrost of Bloemfontein, and Mr. J. A. 
Smellekamp was then selected by President Hoffman to act 
until the volksraad should meet. In August 1855 he was 
confirmed in the appointment, but was superseded in October 

1857] Appointments to Office. 467 

1856 by Mr. C. van Dyk van Soelen.* At the same time 
Mr. Ford, landdrost of Smithneld, was superseded by Mr. 
John Sauer, and Mr. J. M. Orpen was succeeded at Vvinburg 
by Mr. James Michael Howell. Mr. G. P. Visser, provisional 
landdrost of Fauresmith, was replaced by Mr. J. S. Marais, 
and Mr. M. Cauvin was appointed landdrost of Harrismieh. 

In August 1857 the president proposed to the volksraad 
that an officer with the title of resident justice of the 
peace should be stationed at each of the new villages of 
Kroonstad and Boshof. The last-named village occupied the 
site previously known as Van Wyk's Vlei. It had recently 
been founded as a church centre, the first building lots 
having been sold on the 6th of April 1856. The proposal of 
the president was agreed to. Mr. Louis G. Eosa was appointed 
to Kroonstad, and Mr. F. Nauhaus to Boshof. 

In September 1854 the volksraad resolved that the 
president and executive council should constitute a supreme 
court of appeal. For a population so small as that of the 
Free State, the judicial establishments were now held to 
be ample. 

* Mr. Smellekamp from this date until his death practised as 
an agent-at-law in Bloemfontein, and succeeded in establishing a 
large business in that capacity. For several years prior to his 
decease he was one of the most respected members of the volksraad. 
He closed an eventful life on the 25th of May 1866. The pettiness 
and malignancy of his treatment by the authorities of the South 
African Republic can be seen in the correspondence relating to him 
published in the Zuid Afrikaan newspaper and his pamphlet entitled 
Mijn Wedervaren in de Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, vooral in betrek- 
king met den Predikant D. van der Hoff, bevattende de aanleidende 
omstandiglieden tot de drie over mij in gezegde Republiek gevtlde Von- 
nissen van Censuur, Boete, en Bannissement. A dertii octavo pamphlet 
of twenty-four pages, published in Capetown in 1854. The principal 
charge against him was that he had expressed an opinion that the 
reverend Dirk van der Hotl might not have been regularly ordained. 
In 1860 the sentence of banishment from the South African Republic 
was rescinded and the fine that he had been compelled to pay was 
returned to him. 



While the Free State was distracted with the events 

described in the last chapter, Moshesh was careful not to 

commit himself to either party, though he led Mr. Pretorius 

to believe that he was a staunch friend. At the same time 

he spared no efforts to secure the favour, or at least the 

neutrality, of the government of the Cape Colony. He 

offered to submit the question of the ownership of the 

ground adjoining the Warden line between the Orange and 

the Caledon to Sir George Grey's arbitration, but under 

conditions that would have left him master of the situation 

no matter what the decision might be. In reply, the 

governor declined to interfere until made acquainted with 

all that had transpired between him and Mr. Pretorius. 

This letter must have increased Moshesh's conviction that 

Sir George Grey was watching him closely. He now sent 

his son Nehemiah to reside at the Koesberg, and gave him 

instructions to suppress stock-lifting, which Nehemiah did 

pretty effectually for several months, thus showing that 

Moshesh had power to control his subjects, if he were but 

inclined to use it. The efforts of Nehemiah to preserve 

order relaxed, however, about the close of 1857. 

In February 1858, when the volksraad assembled, the 

condition of the Free State was such as to cause grave 

anxiety. The proceedings connected with the recent trial 

and execution of an Englishman named Charles Leo Cox for 

the murder of his wife and two children were held by most 

of his countrymen in the republic to have been irregular, 


1858] Violent Conduct of the Basuto. 469 

and the English party had in consequence become opponents 
of President Boshof. The burghers who were in favour of 
union with the South African Republic formed a respectable 
minority, and they were likewise in opposition. There were 
thus three political parties in the country. 

Weary of dissension and feeling the mortification of 
being impotent for good, on the 25th of February Mr. 
Boshof tendered his resignation. The volksraad requested 
him to retain office, but he persisted, and on the following 
day his resignation was accepted. An executive commission, 
consisting of Messrs. G. du Toit, E. R. Snyman, and J. J. 
Hoffman, was appointed to act until an election could take 
place, and was formally installed at noon on the 1st of 
March. But in the meantime a large number of burghers 
were bringing pressure to bear on the volksraad, and on the 
entreaty of a considerable majority of the members of that 
body Mr. Boshof was induced to withdraw his resignation 
in the evening of the same day. The most violent of his 
opponents then declared the president's chair vacant, on the 
ground that after the acceptance of his resignation and the 
appointment of a committee to act, he could only be restored 
by a general election. Several members in consequence 
vacated their seats and retired to their homes. 

While these wranglings were taking place, Moshesh was 
endeavouring to provoke the burghers to commence hostilities. 
In answer to the continued demands of President Boshof for 
the horses which he had bound himself to deliver, and of 
which he had sent in only forty-five, letters of the most 
frivolous nature were written, indicating that he was treating 
the matter with contempt. Hunting parties of from three 
to five hundred armed and mounted men entered the Free 
State when and where they pleased, and trespassed upon 
farms in defiance of the owners. In the districts of 
Harrismith, Winburg, and Smithfield, farms held under 
English titles were taken possession of by petty Basuto 
captains, and when attempts were made to remove the 
intruders, Moshesh and Letsie claimed the right of inter- 

470 History of the Orange Free State. [1838 

fering. Events had reached that condition which can only 

be remedied by war. 

The volksraad, feeling the grave responsibility of the 
step, but convinced that further remonstrances would be 
futile, authorised the president to prevent intrusion upon the 
territory of the state. They claimed the Warden line as 
their boundary, which Moshesh did not cease to ignore. 
The president accordingly wrote to Moshesh requesting him 
to warn the marauding chiefs that " henceforth cattle-steal- 
ing, aud more particularly the intruding upon any part of 
the state by armed bands for whatever purpose or upon 
whatever pretence, without permission previously obtained, 
would be regarded as acts of open hostility, and that 
measures would be taken to punish such parties and their 
chiefs in such a manner as to teach them to respect the 
rights of the burghers and the peace of the territory." The 
illusion was maintained throughout this letter that the great 
chief was personally inclined for peace, and that the hostile 
acts of the petty captains were committed in disobedience 
of his orders. It was therefore stated that the volksraad 
had no intention of disturbing the good understanding 
between him and themselves, and trusted that he would not 
support the marauders. But that there might be no doubt 
as to what was really intended, a sentence was added that 
" no further warning would be given." 

Five days after this letter was written, Moshesh's 
brother Poshuli, with his own followers and some retainers 
of the Baputi chief Morosi, took forcible possession of 
one of the best farms in the Smithfield district, which had 
previously been in the occupation of Mr. Jan de Winnaar 
and to which the mission station Hebron was subsequently 
removed. The petty chief Lebenya, who was a cousin of 
Jan Letele, had previously seized several other farms in that 
neighbourhood, and had destroyed the buildings and orchards 
upon them. It was known at the same time that Letsie 
had assembled a large party of warriors, and was ready to 
move in any direction. There could no longer be a possi- 

1 8s 8] Adoption of Jan Letele. 471 

bility of staving off war, except by the abandonment of the 
country. The landdrost of Smithfield therefore called out 
the burghers of his district, and as soon as the tidings 
reached Bloemfontein measures were taken to mobilise 
almost the entire force of the republic. While this was 
taking place, Letsie and Moperi were writing to ask what 
all the excitement was about, and Nehemiah was protesting 
that Poshuli had made the inroad in ignorance that he was 
doing anything wrong. 

There was some correspondence, and several meetings 
were held, but all was hollow on both sides. The Free State 
government was trying to gain time to collect the forces of 
its western and northern districts, and Moshesh was trying to 
make it appear that the farmers were the aggressors. The 
Basuto chiefs all denied positively that they were assembling 
their warriors, but it is certain that they had already done 
so. Only four days after the raid, Morosi and those of his 
followers who had not previously joined Poshuli crossed the 
Orange to aid Letsie. At the same time that these events 
were taking place in the south, Molitsane and his Batauug 
were plundering the inhabitants of Winburg, where five 
robbers were shot dead and two others and a farmer were 

By the 10th of March a tolerably strong commando was 
encamped on the border of the disturbed district. The presi- 
dent was there with several members of the volksraad, the 
landdrost of Smithfield, and other influential men. 

On that day came Jan Letele with a party of his followers 
to the Free State camp, and requested the president to re- 
ceive him as a subject. He had been one of the most 
troublesome of all the petty captains on the border, and there 
was no affection wasted between him and the farmers ; but 
in such straits did the government of Mr. Bosh of feel itself 
that the council which met to consider the matter resolved 
to accede